Sunday, 21 November 2010

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!


Electricpig opinions: Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and iTunes welcomes The Beatles

Posted: 21 Nov 2010 05:00 AM PST

It’s time for the latest opinions roundup. Here we herd up this week’s opinion pieces and review verdicts. This week we’ve got the verdict on the Nokia N8, Nokia C7 and an Electricpig-shaped divide on Apple’s latest announcement.

The Beatles on iTunes: the long and winding road or the end?

The Beatles back catalogue finally arrived to download in digital form on Apple’s iTunes music store. Is it a big deal or has Apple taken its eye off from more important matters. Our writer, Mic Wright reckons it’s worth shouting about. Electricpig editor, James Holland isn’t so sure.

“There’s something about The Beatles finally arriving in a digital format that matters. It's a philosophical thing: the point at which digital stores become permanently undeniable – our musical heritage resting in the cloud as well as racks of CDs.

“The second part of my argument with James is our disagreement over whether people under-25 even vaguely care about The Beatles. I think they do. He thinks they couldn't care less. When we took the discussion to Twitter, the replies were fairly evenly split.”

As good a deal as it could turn out financially for Apple, Mic says believes that, from a cultural viewpoint at least, The Beatles landing on iTunes is special.

The Beatles are a cultural virus, they infect each generation in turn. Just as we haven't stopped playing classical music, we won't stop playing The Beatles, however trendy it becomes to say: ‘Oh yeah, The Beatles were SO overrated.’

“The Beatles are so relentlessly covered that new fans will always be led back to the source and I like that they could soon be doing that digitally.”
Meanwhile, James Holland reckons Apple has more important things (that should be) on its agenda.

“It won't make iTunes any more exciting, any better designed, or less prone to crashing when I try to import a wonky file. It won't make iOS 4.2 arrive any quicker, or fix the alarm clock on my iPhone. Frankly, if Apple hadn't plastered a billboard on its homepage, I doubt many people would've noticed. That's because those who want to buy The Beatles have done already, and those half dozen that haven't – you think being able to do it on iTunes will coax them to do so?”

“The fact Last.fm shows The Beatles have fans of many ages proves my point: it's not hard to get the band's music in digital format. In fact, ripping it from a CD provides a better quality version.

“If you're foolish enough to buy into The Beatles' latest publicity stunt and debit your iTunes account for the privilege, good for you. Me? I'll hold on to my cash thanks, and keep waiting for a meaningful iTunes update.”

Nokia N8: Worth the wait?

We finally got to review the Nokia N8. So, was it worth the wait? The N8 is certainly impressive. Reviews editor, Ben Sillis hailed its solid build and camera, but felt let down by its Symbian operating system.

The Nokia N8 features 16GB of built-in memory, an AMOLED screen and a 12-megapixel camera, which for Ben was up there with its most impressive features.

“The camera on the Nokia N8 is nothing short of sensational. It's true that it gives the handset an unwelcome width around the sensor, but that twelve megapixel sensor not only shoots at a resolution high enough to crank off large prints, but for possibly the first time with a phone, they're good enough that you'll want to.”

But the bottom line is that the Symbian 3 OS lets the side down somewhat. “It's faster, yes, it's cleaner yes, but delve too far and you'll still stumble over the skeletons of the S60 UI. For one, the keyboard still takes up far too much of the screen in both portrait and landscape, so you can only see a few lines of text at a time.

“Secondly, those horrible white screens you got at random when launching an app or tilting the screen? Yeah, they're still there, and they're more jarring than ever. We also suffered some major outages from time to time when launching the browser. We're also puzzled by Nokia's decision to make screen swipes through the three homescreens activate after you finish the gesture – it just makes Symbian look laggy, when it's not.

“We can't help feel that Symbian 3 is still letting the side down a tad, and that this superb hardware would be better off mixed with MeeGo instead. One thing's for sure: we can't wait to see the Nokia E7 and rumoured N9.”

Nokia C7 reviewed

Announced months after the Nokia N8, the Nokia C7 is a cheaper, slim touchscreen smartphone with a mini HDMI slot, 8-megapixel camera and the ability to add USB storage.

The Nokia C7 attained a credible, but not outstanding three stars in Ben Sillis‘ review. As with the N8, Ben loved its camera and video quality. “It's not quite up to scratch with the stunning low light performance of the Nokia N8 and its huge sensor, but it's still better than anything rivals like HTC can muster, and for the size, the 720p video is excellent, with a welcome option to digital zoom while filming in HD.”

So, the Nokia C7, or the N8? Ben?  “It's one for longtime Nokia fans only, but if you don't need the extra bells and whistles, we'd choose it over the Nokia N8 and save a few quid each month.”

Agree or disagree with any of the opinions raised? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related posts:

  1. Top tech stories this week: iPad 2, Portal 2 delayed, iPhone bigger than Coke, Assassins Creed 4, iTunes welcomes The Beatles and more
  2. The Beatles on iTunes opinion clash: the long and winding road or the end?
  3. Beatles iPhone app: the Fab Four hit iTunes


Video of the week: Kinect-powered 3D robot

Posted: 21 Nov 2010 01:00 AM PST

Microsoft Kinect might be the latest in video game motion sensing tech, but as we’ve now seen, hack-types are using it for all sorts. One of the latest hacks is this Kinect-equipped Frankenstein-like invention that turns Kinect into a 3D sensing robot you can navigate with your hands. Could this one day be Microsoft’s version of the infamous Nintendo R.O.B.? See it in action, in our video of the week.

Put together by the Personal Robots Group at MIT, the 3D sensing hack takes a battery-powered Microsoft Kinect and an iRobot Create to let it navigate a surrounding area, while sensing and developing a virtual 3D environment within its grey matter.

The resulting robot can even sense humans within its field of vision, and can be controlled by waving at it as you would while using Kinect proper. Does a Kinect robot future await?

See it in action in the video below and let us know what you think. Got any ideas what this tech could/should be used for? Drop us a message in the comments and tell us.

Kinect hack + iRobot Create = 3D sensing robot pal

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Tech week in photos: Boxee Box, Nokia N8, Nokia C7 Call of Duty Black Ops Wii headset, Hanspree crab telly and more

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 05:00 AM PST


Been away this week? Not to worry. We’ve rounded up all the latest hands-on photos to land on Electricpig this week in this very spot. Mobile phones, media streamers, televisions, games. It’s all here in our weekly photo round-up.

The gadget hands-on photos we have for you this week include photos of the Boxee Box media streamer, Nokia’s 12-megapixel N8 handset, Nokia C7, the Hannspad Tablet and more. Click on the photos above for a closer look, or the links below to see more of where they came from and our impressions of each.

See more photos:

Boxee Box unboxed

Nokia N8 reviewed

Call of Duty Black Ops Wii headset

Nokia C7 reviewed

Hanspree’s must-see oddball telly

Hannspad Android tablet hands-on photos

Sony Ericsson LiveView reader photos

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Top tech stories this week: iPad 2, Portal 2 delayed, iPhone bigger than Coke, Assassins Creed 4, iTunes welcomes The Beatles and more

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 01:00 AM PST

The week has whizzed by. By now it’s all become a blur for us. And yourselves? Fear not. You can catch up on some of the most important stories that went down in our latest edition of Top Tech Stories This Week.

We’ve got the latest iPad 2 rumour, word of Portal 2’s latest delay, news on a Wii price slash and of a Assassin’s Creed 4, due in 2011. There’s lots more below, so do read on. Click on the links for the full story.

iPad 2 to be carbon fibre?
A patent emerged this week suggesting that the next generation of iPad will feature a carbon fibre frame to make it much lighter than the current models.

Portal 2 delayed once more
The portal popping sequel will now be arriving at around April 18 2011 after being pushed back a couple of months.

iPhone: Bigger than Coke, Pepsi and Nike
As if more evidence of the Apple iPhone’s quest for world domination needed more spelling out, Trefis says Apple is bigger than 8 out of the 9 largest consumer firms, including the above.

Nintendo Wii price slashed at Sainsbury’s
The Nintendo Wii will be selling for just £119.99 from Sainsburys till 2nd December. Bargain.

The Beatles comes to iTunes
Apple had been hyping a secret announcement most of the week, until it was soon revealed that The Beatles back catalogue is now available to buy through its iTunes music store. Will you be buying Beatles?

Assassin’s Creed 4 for 2011
Love Assassin’s Creed? Great news. There will be a fourth game out as early as next year. We look forward to hearing more about it in January 2011.

Win a Motorola Milestone 2
Want to win a Motorola Milestone 2. All you have to do is tell us your tech milestone, that moment when a new piece of tech, or just any gadget purchase that changed your life forever. Give it a try.

Related posts:

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US Update: Kinect multi-touch, white iPhone 4, iPad 2.0

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 07:00 PM PST

US Update: Kinect multi-touch, white iPhone, iPad 2.0There's nothing like a little bit of tech news to start your day off right.  In this morning's edition of the US Update we take you to a world where Kinect and Windows 7 take multi-touch into the future, 1985 when Steve Jobs predicted the iPhone and more.

Fresh off a record launch, the Kinect is breaking new headlines with some help from Windows 7 and some trusty drivers.  Marty McFly might have been the first to travel back to the future, but it looks like Steve Jobs predicted the iPhone and iPad way back in 1985.

In the far east, white iPhone 4s in full retail packaging are starting to pop up.  The price is a tough pill to swallow, but in the land where cash is king, anything can be had for the right price.  The next-gen iPad 2.0 will be running circles around the competition, but not if Samsung has anything to do about it.

Last up on this side of the pond was additional confirmation on the Tegra-powered Motorola Olympus, set to break free at CES 2011 in January.  Thanks for spending your morning with us as we break the headlines fresh off the press from our side of the world.  Until Monday, this is Nick saying over and out.

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Motorola Olympus: more confirmation, more specs

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 06:00 PM PST

motorola olympus is now confirmedThe Motorola Olympus is set to be the first dual-core device from the manufacturer.  Sporting NVidia's Tegra 2 processor is only the beginning for the Android powerhouse.  In this exclusive first-look we break down the latest confirmation and juicy specs.

With a codename Termination, the Motorola Olympus has some tough shoes to fill.  Luckily the dual-core Tegra 2 processor can manage that task with enough horsepower to leave the current gen Snapdragon handsets dead in their tracks.

New confirmation the Motorola Olympus not only exists, but will be coming in early 2011 came by way of AndroidandMe.  The Android-focused blog was live at CTIA in San Francisco where they received direct confirmation from Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha that the device is in fact real.

The latest confirmation and what we would call revelation, unraveled this afternoon when some camera shots taken purportedly taken by the Motorola Olympus surfaced.  Tucked away in every photo is the juicy EXIF data which reveal quite a bit of relevant information.

For these photos in particular, the device in question was labeled "Olympus in preproduction" with the OEM of Motorola and the chipset listed nVidia Tegra 2.  Other important tidbits include Android 2.2.1 and a product ID listed as olyatt.

Short of an official announcement, today's discovery is nothing short of groundbreaking.  Not only do we have multiple levels of confirmation, but we now know that the device is being tested at the pre-production level.  Who else is excited about the Motorola Olympus announcement at CES? Sign me up.

via AndroidandMe

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iPad 2.0 using ARM A9: Samsung to follow?

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 05:00 PM PST

ipad 2.0 will use a arm a9 processorThe forthcoming iPad 2.0, the second generation of Apple's wonderful tablet, is tentatively scheduled to run the ARM A9 processor.  Following Apple's lead, Samsung has confirmed their next-gen tablets will also run the Cortex-based processors.

The battle for the king of the tablet world rides the headlines of the interwebs like a big wave surfer, carefully pushing the limits of technology without crushing the foundation of devices past.  The second-gen iPad, version 2.0, will enter a market flush with worthy competitors next year.

Apple will be looking to stake their claim as the tablet king in 2011 with a more powerful, faster and feature rich iPad 2.0.  The current iPad, powered by the ARM A8 processor, delivers the speed and performance to keep it at the forefront of the current wave of tablets.  The A8 chip has served the iPad well, but a fresh and most importantly, faster chip, is necessary for iPad 2.0.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab on the other hand, delivers more features and equally as impressive speed and response as the current iPad.  Samsung's follow up to the Galaxy Tab will match the iPad 2.0 with an ARM A9 chip and look to take the crown from Apple.

Mac-centric website 9to5Mac has confirmed the plans of Samsung to bring the A9 processor to the Galaxy Tab successor.  Also confirming the tablet will use an ARM Mali-based GPU.  This Cortex A9 iteration will be a dual-core model, combined with a quad-core graphics chip.

At the moment there is no release date information for the iPad 2.0 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0.  Both devices will likely be launched in the first half of 2011 and official announcements should come our way in January either at or following CES.

With the iPad 2.0 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 officially on the same playing ground, which device do you plan to be on the look out in 2011?  Let us know!

via 9to5Mac

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White iPhone 4: leaked from Apple, on sale early?

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 04:00 PM PST

white iphone 4s surface on the Chinese grey marketThe painfully slow release of the white iPhone 4 can only be described as a saga.  A series of delays have pushed the product into a uncertain future.  For those calling China home, that future could materialize into the present as reports now suggest white iPhone 4s are being sold on the grey market.

A quick jump over to website Giz-China and the first published photos of the white iPhone 4 in full retail packaging can be seen.  Tucked away in the familiar box with an ivory finish sleeps the mythical creature we've been dreaming about the past five months — the white iPhone 4.

According to Giz-China sources, the white iPhone 4 is currently being sold in the grey market, ranging in price of 5500 Yuan to 8000 Yuan.  The news might come a shocker to some, but this is not the first time we've seen the illegal resell of Apple products.  Back in 2008 a report in the New York Times suggested that nearly 1.4 million iPhones were purchased by illegal means.

white iphone 4s are being sold in china

Without a limit to the number of iPhones one can buy, cash remains king at retail.  Walk into any Apple store New York to Beijing with the cash and leave with the goods in tote.  Apple's focus on retail sales is the company's own demise, at least as far as illegal resale of their products is concerned.

The white iPhone 4 is just the latest in a series of product launches by Apple which have fueled the underground grey market.  At the end of the day, unless these white iPhone 4s were stolen from the factory, money exchanged hands and Apple likely walked away unscaved.

For the rest of the would-be white iPhone 4 owners in the world (mark us at the top of that list), the news is bittersweet.  Being one of the first to own the white iPhone 4 would have been a great way to ring in the New Year.  As things currently stand, a trip to China for a white iPhone 4 might be the only chance we get this side of 2010.

So who's up for a little trip to the east?  The price is a bit rough, but being one of the select few to own the white iPhone 4 could be a treat.

via TUAW

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Steve Jobs predicted iPhone and iPad in 1985

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 03:00 PM PST

Steve Jobs predicted iPhone and iPad in 1985Cofounder and head honcho at Apple, Steve Jobs, has quite an impressive set of product launches under his belt. The latest of his creations, the iPhone and iPad, have changes the way we think about mobile phones and arguably use the Internet. But, did Steve predict the iPhone and iPad way back in 1985?

The year was 1985, Back to the Future was king and many afternoons were spent day dreaming about a time when we too could gun our DeLorean to 88 mph. In a valley south of San Francisco, a place we like to call Cupertino's camp, Steve Jobs had managed to go from designing Atari games to partnering up with Steve Wozniak and turn a hobby into a 1.4 billion dollar revenue stream.

Fast forward 25 years and Jobs is an industry icon, selling millions upon millions of iPhones, iPods, iMacs and iPads each and every quarter. One has to think that Steve Jobs had an inside scoop — that he knew back in 1985 the future would depend on being mobile.

Looking at an old interview in Playboy magazine Jobs said, "the developments will be in making the products more portable, networking them". The iPhone and iPad thrive on being mobile. They thrive on battery life which allows hours upon hours of surfing the web, playing games and being – mobile.

1985 was a much different time. Computers were on slowly being adopted, yet Jobs remained focused and provided even more insight into the future when he said, "getting out more communications ability, maybe the merging of the telephone and the personal computer".

If the iPhone and iPad are not perfect examples of merging the telephone with the personal computer, I don't know what is. The Apple II saved the company in 1983 when sales increased from $583,000,000 to $980,000,000. Today the sales of the iPhone and iPad are the core of Apple's business and Jobs's premonition of "making products more portable" will continue to foreshadow the future.

So what do you think? Did Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head back in 1985? We'd reckon he had the road map of portable and mobile technologies spot on.

via Playboy

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Kinect Windows 7 drivers: No-touch multitouch incoming!

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 02:00 PM PST

windows 7 meets microsoft kinectA mashup of Kinect and Windows 7 is currently underway at Evoluce, a leading surface technology firm. The team successfully demonstrated Windows 7 applications being controlled via Microsoft's Kinect.

Bridging the gap between the power of Kinect and the versatility of Windows 7 is a remarkable feat. In the following video you can see the project in action as the team demonstrates Windows 7 applications being controlled and interacted with for the first time through Kinect.

Kinect Windows 7 drivers

Now for the rub- the team is actually leveraging Windows 7 to simultaneously control multiple multi-touch and multi-gesture applications, including those using Flash and Java. For software developers this is a big news.

By tapping into the power of Kinect and Windows 7, developers will be able to program multi-user, multi-gesture applications that will forever change the way we interact with our PCs.

According to Evoluce, a software release is not far off. The planned software is based on the latest Evoluce Multitouch Input Management (MIM) driver which delivers standard interfaces for multi-gesture software development for Windows 7, Java, XML, Flash and TUIO.

The team at Evoluce has not only expanded the possibilities of of Microsoft's Kinect and possibly changed the future of home computer, they've also opened the door to remarkable possibilities. The reach of multi-user, multi-gesture applications could be used in everything from our home electronics to point of sale or even medical systems.

The next time you go into the doctor's office, imagine your X-rays being thrown onto screen and then with a quick pinch of the fingers and the doctor has an up-close view of the hairline fracture. Not to mention that this is done without touching a screen.

Evoluce has effectively used Kinect and Windows 7 to replace Microsoft's own Surface technology. Using large, non-portable Surface table tops simply to bring multi-touch to new venues is not practical. Grabbing the a HTPC, a Kinect sensor and a slim LCD monitor is the solution.

The team at Evoluce is always looking for new ideas and applications. Drop us a line with your ideas on where the power of Windows 7 and Microsoft Kinect can change the way we technology below.

YouTube via Evoluce

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