Saturday, 17 July 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Dyson Air Multiplier video: what you think Dyson’s hiding

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 05:30 AM PDT

The Dyson Air Multiplier video had a mysterious blurred out portion which we showed you last week. We then asked what you thought the Dyson Air Multiplier mystery was, and you answered, and raised James Dyson higher than Jobs. It's fair to say, you guys like Dyson, even if you do think his Air Multipliers are a little overpriced…

43 per cent of you said that the blurred out portion of the Dyson Air Multiplier video was something "more magical and revolutionary than Steve Jobs could ever imagine". The optional answers told it all: one respondent posited a time machine, another a Dyson Sphere, which is not some self propelling football, but a hypothetical megastructure meant to encompass a star and harness its energy output. Sounds pretty damned magical to me.

Others were more domestically minded, with either 14 per cent of people expecting another hoover, and another 14 hedging their bets that Dyson was moving from an Air Multiplier back into washing machines.

One of you stuck your neck out and said that the blurred out object in the Dyson Air Multiplier video was a water purification system, others said an electric car engine, a wind powered generator, and a new antenna for the iPhone 4.

Also included in the answers was: porn, the safe they keep the hyper-expensive Dyson Air Multipliers in, "Someone Mooning the camera as no one appears to do any work", and, our personal favourite, (our personal favourite), Leonard Nimoy.  He gets everywhere, yes, but why would Dyson blur him out? Maybe he was the one mooning.

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Lunchtime Lowdown: Profoundly in love with Pandora, Apple babble, Desire in HD

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 04:30 AM PDT

Another week, another pile of top gadget stories. Lets get ready for the weekend with a round-up of the latest news and reviews from the tech world.

Electricpig readers (i.e. you lot) reacted cynically to the prospect of the Apple iPhone 4 press conference later today, with 52 per cent of you expecting nothing but PR babble and 17 per cent bracing yourselves for ‘hypnotism’.

There was some joy in iPhone 4 circles with the news that Apple’s hastily released iOS4 update doesn’t block the most recent jailbreaking techniques. Presumably Apple rushed it out so quickly they didn’t have time to crush our dreams.

We got our hands on Pandora’s Box (or at least, the box of a Pandora) and found that it contained not sins, but hundreds of brilliant retro games and a web browser. We’re sure more people would study Classics if this were more widely known.

Nintendo supreme being Shigeru Miyamoto disappointed some Wii fans – and secretly pleased some others – with the announcement that the Wii 2 will not feature 3D technology.

Finally, the HTC Desire we have been proudly carrying around lost a little of its shine with the rumours of the HTC Desire HD which will rock a 4.3 inch screen, HD 720p video and 4 GB of internal storage. Basically, its the HTC EVO 4G, but without the 4G. We can’t wait.

Still hungry for news? Head over to our homepage for the latest tasty morsels.

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  1. Apple iPhone 4 press conference: scripted PR babble say Electricpig readers
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  3. Lunchtime Lowdown: iPhone 3GS faster than promised, why we love the HTC Hero and the Game Critics E3 awards

The Social Network: Hollywood Zuckerberg vs reality Zuckerberg

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 04:06 AM PDT

Trailers for the Facebook film, The Social Network, are everywhere. Cue bombastic voiceovers, romanticised view of college in America, and some overblown and overly sentimental soundtracks. But The Social Network looks to be painting a rather different view of Zuckerberg than we Brits saw during his scripted chat with Cameron last week…

Here, Zuckerberg appeared to be sat in his bedroom, in a sweatshirt, fiddling with his Mac (listen for the pop-pop sound of the volume button), and squeezing out a half smile for Cameron, who's in a plush suite somewhere in Number 10, wearing a freshly pressed suit and tie.

The Social Network teaser trailer on the other hand, proclaimed Zuckerberg, the man with questionable views on privacy, as "punk, genius, prophet, traitor, billionnaire". Big words, hard to project onto the discomfiting chat we saw between said 'prophet' and David Cameron last week, that's for sure.

Zuckerberg is played in The Social Network by the 'serious-older-brother-of-Michael-Cera' Jesse Eisenberg, and Andrew Garfield (Red Riding, The Other Boleyn Girl) plays co founder Eduardo Saverin.

Yes Zuckerberg will also be wearing a sweatshirt and sitting in his room a lot in The Social Network, but rather than awkward PR stunts with the British PM, we'll see a dramatic clash of principles, a lot of sticking it to the man, and the classic "I just want to be popular!" trope, which is perhaps very appropriate in this case, given the subject matter, but remains inherently yawn-inducing.

The trailer soundtrack is particularly squirm-worthy. A choir version of Radiohead's "Creep", set to sentimental images of baby feet, sunsets, holidays and weddings. It screams ham-fisted profundity-pushing, but then no blockbuster is complete without a Morgan Freeman style character rolling up and delivering a mini sermon upon an impressionable and troubled central protagonist.

The Social Network is going to be cringeworthy, and overblown in lots of places. However, what it won't do is painting Mark Zuckerberg in a wholly positive light, since the screenplay is an adaptation of The Accidental Billionaires by West Wing's creator Aaron Sorkin.

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Nintendo Wii 2: no 3D says Miyamoto

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 03:35 AM PDT

A Nintendo Wii 2 with 3D won't be the firm's next step, according to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. While Nintendo head honcho Satoru Iwata discussed the idea last month, Miyamoto says the Wii 2 isn't going to jump down the pipe and follow the Xbox 360 and PS3 into the 3D gaming world. Should Nintendo stick to portable 3D and swerve it in the living room as it has with HD?

Miyamoto told German site, Spiegel online: "I do not believe that Wii 3D will be our next step. One reason Wii is successful is because most people do not have any HDTV equipment and know how to appreciate what the Wii offers."

He continued: "The Nintendo 3DS is possible because it is a portable console and it works without 3D glasses. For the living room, consumers would need a 3D TV and it will take some time before enough households have 3D TVs."

In his comments on the possibility to creating a Wii 2 3D, Iwata said Nintendo was watching 3D TV adoption trends and pegged the number necessary to make it worthwhile at 30%.

Meanwhile Sony has gone all in with 3D, with its 3D TVs and the PS3 3D firmware update and Microsoft is toying with Xbox 360 3D gaming in a deal with LG.

The Nintendo Wii was a roaring success despite taking an entirely different route to the next gen consoles. Could the Nintendo Wii 2 repeat that strategy? Or is 3D going to become a must have feature?

Out TBC | £TBC | Nintendo (via Spiegel)

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HTC Desire HD specs spied: Evo 4G for the UK?

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 03:02 AM PDT

The HTC Desire looks set for a sequel. Rumoured specs for the HTC Desire HD has slipped out online and it's good news if you were frustrated that the HTC Evo 4G isn't flying over to the UK. From the unconfirmed details, it seems the HTC Desire HD will be a 3G-packing, European spin on the Evo's big screen delights with a pinch of HTC Legend style thrown in for good measure. Sound good? Dive into the rest of the specs below…

HTC hasn't confirmed the existence of the HTC Desire HD but we're hoping these details are on the money. The specs posted by SuperETrader promise a 4.3in WVGA touchscreen with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor humming along inside and a 8MP camera. That's pretty much the perfect menu for cooking up a UK version of the Evo 4G.

Since the HTC Desire is in line for an Android 2.2 Froyo update, it's not surprising that the HTC Desire HD is said to be rocking it too. The rumoured specs also include 720p HD video recording, Flash 10.1 support, 4GB of internal storage and automatic face tracking.

It's also suggested that the HTC Desire HD will get a new look with a unibody aluminium design. That sounds a lot like the treatment given to the HTC Legend. We loved its Macbook Pro-style armour so giving the HTC Desire HD the same protection would be a big plus.

A phone dubbed the HTC Ace was shown in the same leaked UK roadmap that detailed the HTC Gold Windows Phone 7 handset. That document was light on details but suggested the Ace would drop sometime in October. The new buzz is that the HTC Desire HD is that phone.

If you've been enviously staring across the Atlantic at the HTC Evo 4G, would an HTC Desire HD with these specs satisfying your Android cravings? What other features should HTC include? Hit us with your HTC wishlist in the comments.

Out TBC | £TBC | HTC (via Slash Gear)

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Apple iPhone 4 press conference: scripted PR babble say Electricpig readers

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 02:45 AM PDT

After Apple hastily announced it would be holding a press conference about the iPhone 4 later today, we wanted to know what you, readers, were expecting. Was this going to be Apple, admitting it was wrong, and giving every iPhone 4 owner across the globe a new handset? Or is it likely to be a damage limitation exercise, pressed upon Jobs and his minions by a headstrong PR? We asked, and you answered…

Turns out most of you are cynical about the press conference. An overwhelming 52 per cent of you said that Apple's press conference about the iPhone 4 was going to be nothing more than some scripted PR babble about the signal problems.

17 per cent of you said that you expected "hypnotism, followed by the news that the software fix HAS solved the problem", meaning you were prepared to be told that Apple’s iOS4.0.1 update that arrived yesterday has fixed everything, and now we'll all get a reliably low signal display.

Few of you were hopeful about Apple making proper moves to correct its mistake, with only 13 per cent certain that we'll see a recall announced today, and 12 per cent of you crossing your fingers for free bumper boxes.

One per cent of you may be delusional, and were decorating the spare room in anticipation of the free Apple-bot Jobs is going to be delivering to your house to help you hold your iPhone 4 at all times. Five per cent were prepared to watch Steve Jobs evil laughing at our gullibility for 20 minutes.

But now, we wait until California wakes up, and the world's media once again trains its eyes on Cupertino. In the meantime though, was there an answer we didn't include?

What are you expecting from today, now that the update has come through?

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iPhone 4 jailbreak still possible with iOS 4.0.1 update

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 02:02 AM PDT

An iPhone 4 jailbreak release is still on track despite the arrival of the iOS 4.0.1 update. There had been oodles of speculation that Apple would introduce new measures to frustrate coders but that hasn't happened this time. The iPhone Dev Team reports that the ultrasn0w iPhone unlock used by Planetbeing as part of his iPhone 4 jailbreak has not been blocked and iPhone 3G jailbreak tools still work just fine. Read on for the latest installment in the iPhone 4 jailbreak saga…

MuscleNerd, the iPhone Dev Team's ever-reliable source of iPhone 4 jailbreak news, reports on Twitter that the ultrasn0w carrier unlock is not blocked by the iOS 4.0.1 update. He also says you can safely install the iOS 4.0.1 update on an iPhone 3G or the iPod Touch 2G and jailbreak them again with redsn0w. iPhone 3GS owners should hold off for now though.

Comex, who was behind the Spirit iPhone jailbreak, still looks likely to be the source of the first publicly available iPhone 4 jailbreak but confirmed last night that his solution is “not ready yet”. That little word “yet” is crucial!

While the iOS 4.0.1 update doesn't seem to contain any new measures to block an iPhone 4 jailbreak, the forthcoming iOS 4.1 release could still contain further anti-tampering tricks from Apple. The door to an iPhone 4 jailbreak is still open but who knows how long it'll stay that way.

Have you installed the iOS 4.0.1 update on your jailbroken iPhone? Let us know if you've had problems. And if you've been planning to go for the iPhone 4 jailbreak, has the wait for a solution started to put you off?

Out now | £free | Apple

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Pandora review

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 01:47 AM PDT

You won't find the Pandora on the shelf at your local high street retailer, ever, but for a select band of dedicated gamers, it's the year's – nay, the last five year's – biggest hardware launch. The open source, emulator rocking gaming handheld has been years in the making, but it's finally arrived, for a lucky few. We're one of the first sites on the planet to get our hands on one, but is it really worth opening Pandora's box? Find out in our exclusive Pandora review.

They say that good things come to those who wait but for the incredibly patient punters who dutifully pre-ordered the Pandora console way back in 2008, it's been a tense and nail-biting experience.

For the uninitiated, the Pandora is an open-source device which aims to fuse the best bits of an ultra-portable PC with a proper gaming interface. It's the culmination of years of hard graft by a dedicated team of super-techies who nurtured the project from conception to completion almost entirely in their spare time. To top it all off, the machine has been assembled here in good old Blighty.

Of course stanch patriotism isn't enough to warrant dropping over £200 notes on this box of marvels but thankfully the Pandora boasts a myriad of awesome features underneath the rather unassuming exterior to make the decision that little bit easier

Before we go under the bonnet though it’s time for some brutal honesty – while it’s hardly what you would call an ugly device, in purely physical terms the Pandora isn't going to win any industrial design awards any time soon. It's a little larger than a Nintendo DS Lite and comes with a matte rather than a gloss finish which makes it easy to grip but also means it’s sadly prone to marks and scuffs.

The Pandora's D-pad and dual analogue "nubs" though are fantastic – in fact we'd go as far as to say the machine boasts the best gaming interface we've yet experienced on a handheld. The addition of a keyboard might seem like overkill initially but it comes in useful more often than you might expect. To round off the input options the Pandora also showcases a resistive touchscreen display and comes with a stylus that docks rather stealthily on the underside of the machine.

Given the sheer number of buttons and pads on display you'd expect using the Pandora to be the video gaming equivalent of negotiating the M25 during rush-hour whilst blindfolded and riding a skateboard, but after prolonged play we found it was actually more comfortable than the Nintendo DS Lite, mainly because the additional bulk allowed us to obtain a much more agreeable grip.

The Pandora is rocking a modified version of the open-source operating system Linux and has been designed with bedroom coders in mind. Although it runs a Windows-style desktop, boasts Wi-Fi and can surf the net, the main focus of the device is unquestionably gaming – or to be more specific, emulation of vintage consoles ranging from the humble Atari 2600 right the way up to Nintendo's N64.

At present the Pandora has only a handful of emulators available for it but over time this will increase as more and more keen coders get their sweaty hands on the machine. However, even at this early stage it's perfectly possible to play Mega Drive, NES, SNES, Master System, Amiga, Spectrum, C64, Atari ST, DOS-based PC, Game Boy and PC Engine titles at close to full speed with sound.

16-bit emulation is particularly impressive, with Mega Drive and SNES games running as well as they would on their host hardware. Thanks to the lush D-pad controlling the action is a breeze and little in lost in the transition.

Emulation of other, more powerful machines – such as the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo N64 and Sony PlayStation – is a little rougher around the edges. Not all games run and many of those that do feature issues such as crippling slowdown, garbled sound and corrupted graphics. For example, the N64 title Smash Bros runs at an acceptable speed but many of the characters are missing minor details like texture-mapping on their faces and clothing.

It all sounds a bit alarming but when you consider that the majority of emulators currently available for the Pandora are hastily-ported and largely unoptimised versions of existing code, it's understandable. Over time the performance of these high-end programs is certain to improve. In fact the future promises many other exciting developments – the Pandora is apparently capable of replicating the performance of the 128-bit Sega Dreamcast, and videos showing such emulation have been posted on the net as a tantalising proof-of-concept. See a glimpse of Shen Mue and Crazy Taxi below:

Outside of emulating crusty old retro consoles the Pandora can perform some pretty impressive 3D tricks and it's hoped that the machine will get its own dedicated software library at some point. For the time being everything runs off SD cards, and because the Pandora has two slots which accept cards up to 64GB you can effectively double-up on your storage capacity to a maximum of 128GB.

The Pandora can also be used for surfing the web, checking your email and instant messaging, all thanks to its Linux heritage. Browsing your favourite sites is a little cumbersome thanks to the size of the display but it's no more problematic than using your smartphone. Basic Flash adverts load, and you can watch YouTube via a client (which doesn't use Flash).The ability to add on USB peripherals – such as keyboard and mouse – means that you can essentially transform the Pandora into dinky desktop PC, and this makes hitting the web a little more intuitive.

Chances are by this point the realisation has dawned upon you that the Pandora is not your typical video game console. This is a piece of hardware aimed at diehard enthusiasts and if you're the kind of person who finds configuring the Sky+ box to be a daunting task then this handheld is likely to represent an entire world of hurt for you.

However, those of you that reveal in flexibility and appreciate the potential offered by such a powerful device will want to check this out at the earliest possibility opportunity. It's not likely to usurp your Nintendo DS or replace your Sony PSP but it does offer up a way of carrying the history of the video game industry around in your pocket as well as showcasing web-surfing capabilities and many other tricks.

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iPhone 4 announcement: How Steve Jobs can make everything OK

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 01:37 AM PDT

By now, it should be fairly obvious that Steve Jobs is not going to announce an iPhone 4 recall tonight. Apple clearly believes this is a problem that can be fixed remotely. It's probably right, but software alone isn't going to do it. We need a blood sacrifice, and that sacrifice can only be made by Steve Jobs.

I've already seen speculation that Jobs might resign tonight. That might be ludicrous, but it shows a growing public sentiment that Steve is personally responsible for Apple's cock-up, and the lack of public patience with Apple's excuses is now palpable.

When he was interviewed at the D8 conference last month, Jobs repeatedly claimed that Apple's mission is simply to make great products, so its employees can "come into work the next day." By his own standards, the iPhone 4 is not a great product, at least from a technical point of view, and while I've no doubt he'll continue to "come into work the next day" it's time Jobs stood up and publicly took some blame.

For once in his career, this is the time Steve Jobs needs to drop the smart arse attitude, lose the arrogance, admit Apple made a mistake in its industrial design, and that he and those around him are not infallible. Quips and clever replies won't cut it this time. We need a dose of honesty and humility, and that will cost Jobs more personally than any product recall.

Millions of devices now rest in the hands of unhappy, or at the least slightly confused customers, and it's time the reality distortion field slipped. When Steve Jobs takes the stage tonight, we'll be waiting for him to hold up his hands, accept that Apple dropped the ball and neatly explain how it'll fix the problem.

I'm expecting an extended returns period, maybe up to two months, allowing those who're unhappy with the iPhone 4 a reasonable amount of time to return it.

Alongside that, as predicted by some analysts, I'm anticipating new iPhone 4 handsets will come with a hardware fix from now on. It's been dubbed by some as a "brute force" solution, rather than an elegant design alteration, but Jobs needs something tangible to show. It would also make sense for Apple to offer a returns programme, rather than a full recall, letting existing owners swap their handset for a modified one in due course.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Apple needs to show its faithful customers some love. This is a company built on dedication from customers and fanboys alike, and in recent months, through the terseness of Steve Jobs e-mails to its public shrugging over the iPhone 4's problems, I've felt a shift in sentiment amongst even devoted Apple lovers. And no, Steve. We still haven’t forgotten that hefty price cut to the original iPhone two months after it went on sale. You never really apologised for that either.

A public apology will help this time, sure, but we'll need a freebie or two as well. A gift from Apple's father figure to show he still loves us, or maybe just something to show we won.

Bumper cases would go down well, as would a little iTunes store credit. It doesn't have to cost Apple the earth, but if Steve pulls off a successful mea culpa tonight, it might just be the second time he's turned around the company's fortunes since returning to its helm in 1996.

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Techie Breakie: iPhone 4 press conference today, new Sony gizmos galore and a MacBook Air resize?

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 01:00 AM PDT

We’re fast approaching the end of the week, but things are only about to heat up: Apple’s mystery press conference is just hours away. More on that, and much more, in our news roundup right here.

First up, Apple is about to grab the headlines once more. It’s scheduled a press conference today regarding the iPhone 4 – is it going to be about the antenna issues, an iOS update or even a recall? Vote in our poll and have your say!

That’s not all the Cupertino flavoured gossip right now, several new leaks showed details of FaceTime video chats working on the supposed upcoming iPod touch, and even hints that the MacBook Air could be downsized.

Elsewhere in gadgetry meanwhile, we checked out Sony’s new Autumn line up of gear, including the impressive NEX camcorder, a karaoke Walkman, and the crazy new coloured Sony VAIO P machines.

Still want more news? Hop on through to the homepage and help yourself! is on the look out for a new Commercial Director. Could it be you? Click to find out how to apply.

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