Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

US Update: Motorola Tablet, Google Notebook, Kindle, Android 2.3

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 07:00 PM PST

US Update: Motorola Tablet, Google Notebook, Kindle, Android 2.3We've got you covered this morning with the latest and greatest from this side of the globe. In today's US Update we walk you through the details of the Motorola Tablet, introduce you to the Google Chrome OS Notebook, highlight the Amazon Kindle for Web and more.

Stepping into the tablet spotlight this morning was the Motorola tablet, running Android 3.0 Honeycomb and packing a Tegra 2 processor. We saw the device on video from the All Things D conference currently underway. There's plenty to learn about the device and Android 3.0 so we recommend checking out our full coverage here.

Google has begun a pilot program which gives early adopters their very own Chrome OS notebook, free. Apply for the program now! Amazon has decided to battle back against Google eBooks by offering their own cloud-based service of their own — Kindle for Web, You can now purchase and read full books from Kindle using any web browser.

Virgin Media is looking to raise the broadband bar by offering a new 100Mb service. The service include a 10Mb upload and is currently available for pre-registration in parts of London, the South East and Yorkshire. A new iPhone app, DJ Music Mixer, is now available for free from the App Store. We took it for a spin and now we're installing it on our iPad, we'd add to this to the must-download list.

Last in this morning is news on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Revealed in the SDK are two major revelations – video chat and game controls. We saw confirmation of video chat for GoogleTalk during the All Things D conference when the Motorola tablet was on display, but game controls was a bit of a mystery. We now know both will be front and center in Android 2.3.

That wraps up things this fine morning from the states. Thanks for spending your morning with us as we break the headlines fresh off the press from our side of the world. Until tomorrow, this is Nick saying over and out.

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Android 2.3 Gingerbread: SDK shows video chat and game controls

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 06:00 PM PST

Android 2.3 Gingerbread: SDK shows video chat and game controlsWe're hot and bothered for some Android 2.3 Gingerbread love. While we sit and wait patiently for our Samsung Nexus S and the Android 2.3 update to roll out to the Google Nexus One we've got some big news — video chat and game controls are coming to Android 2.3!

What started as rumors has quickly become concrete proof, thanks to the latest findings in the Android 2.3 SDK. Tucked away nice and neat in the SDK are a set of three icons — presence_video_away.png, presence_video_busy.png and presence_video_online.png. More than enough proof that video calling will be a highlight of Android 2.3.

Earlier today when we told you about the Android 3.0 Motorola Tablet we caught a glimpse of the video chat option in GoogleTalk so at this point, it's safe to say video chat is a bonafide feature in Android – starting with 2.3. The second key feature for Android 2.3, game controls, is evident in the new keyboard buttons. At first we though this was specific to the Playstation phone, but additional details show that the Gingerbread API includes the following buttons: A, B, C, L1, L2, R1, R2, START, SELECT, THUMBL, THUMBR, X, Y and Z.

So there you have it — video chat and game controls are a huge part of Android 2.3. The Playstation phone is confirmed and the world is a better place thanks to Android. Let us know what you think about video chat and game controls coming to Android 2.3 — is this a sign of the future for mobile phones?

via Android Central

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DJ Music Mixer: become the ultimate iPhone DJ

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 05:00 PM PST

DJ Music Mixer: become the ultimate iPhone DJLooking to take your DJ skills to the next level but not ready to shell out the coin for a full-fledge DJ setup? DJ Music Mixer, now in the Apple App Store, has you covered. Ready to start mixing some tracks on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad?

The vinyl records and dual turntables that once marked the sign of a professional DJ need not apply. The DJ Music Mixer app lets you mix songs from dual decks, add sounds from the freestyle board and once you're done you can save or share your finished product.

The app is currently free, so we went ahead and downloaded our own copy on the iPhone 4. The first thing you'll notice is the app comes pre-loaded with ten songs some from big time DJs — Major Lazer, Style of Eye, Riva Starr and Mowgli to name a few. Using the dual-track setup, you can easily mix songs thanks to automatic beat-mix.

There's not much of a learning curve to the app, in fact we'd say it's easy as pie. We tested some of the sound effects and gave it our best go with some baseline loops and we must say the program is very robust. Without a background as a DJ, I'd reckon nearly anyone could manage to put together a quality mix with the DJ Music Mixer app.

DJ Music Mixer: become the ultimate iPhone DJ

When the price is right and the features flush, we can't help but recommend taking it for a spin. Let us know what you think of the DJ Music Mixer app now available in the App Store. We'll be throwing it on our Apple iPad in a few minutes and if our hunch is correct, this should be the perfect device to get the job done.

Out Now | Free | App Store

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Virgin Media crushes the Internet with 100Mb broadband service

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 04:00 PM PST

Virgin Media crushes the Internet with 100Mb broadband serviceBlazing fast Internet on your holiday wishlist? Well then, you'll be happy to note today's announcement from Virgin Media detailing the rollout timetable of its ultra-fast 100Mb broadband service. Pre-registration starts today, do you have a need for speed?

Like our main man Goose from Top Gun said so well, "goodness gracious, great balls of fire!". That's exactly what you can expect when you are surfing the web at a blistering 100Mb with Virgin Media's new broadband service. This significant milestone is just one example of the company's next generation network and opens up a tremendous world of possibilities that broadband can enable.

Tech jargon aside, what does 100 Mb Internet connection actually mean when it comes time to downloading? How about an entire music album in just five seconds; a TV show in 30 seconds; a standard definition movie in one and a half minutes or a high-quality (HD) movie in seven minutes. Now that's what we call a need for speed!

We've spent enough time focusing on the download, now it's time to break down the upload. Clocking in at 10Mb, you'll have no problem sharing your high definition video streams or hosting a game server. Heck, you could even share a handful of Slingboxes and still have bandwidth to spare!

The new 100 Mb package from Virgin Media comes with a custom built energy efficient modem and Wireless N router. The hardware packs a punch, with support for up to 400 Mb service when it rolls out in the not-too-distant future. The full 100 Mb roll out will be completed by 2012, but if parts of London, the South East and Yorkshire are now live.

If you decide to opt in for the pre-registration today let us know. We can't wait to try the 100 Mb package on for size ourselves, but we'd love a heads up if you beat us to the punch. Let the games begin!

Out Now | £35/month (with phone line) | Pre-registration

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Amazon Kindle for Web to battle Google eBooks?

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 03:00 PM PST

Amazon Kindle for Web to battle Google eBooks?Amazon has announced Kindle for Web, a cloud-based solution which brings your book library to any web browser and turns any website into a Kindle bookstore. With the announcement from Google this week, outing Google eBooks — the cloud is the new frontline in the war for book sales, is Amazon ready for battle?

Kindle for Web began back in September when the concept was born. Gartner analyst Allen Weiner called the service a "natural evolution" for Amazon's ebook strategy and quite frankly, we agree. The official release of Kindle for Web allows book purchases of Kindle books through various web sites offering them and also allows reading the full book, not just samples.

Google's eBooks and eBook store also allows purchasing and browsing across a variety of device, namely the millions of Android smartphones around the world. With Amazon's Kindle application well established on major mobile platforms, PC, Mac and now web browsers, they now offer the full spectrum of services.

Despite Amazon Kindle's reported 50 to 75 percent share of the e-book market, Allen Weiner believes that Google "is a clear threat to Amazon, however, because Google can support many more devices than Amazon". To the contrary, James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester believes that "in the long run, Google eBooks may just convert more people to e-reading who may then go on to buy a Kindle".

The battle for the e-book market is stronger than ever. Amazon has the years of experience selling goods online and provides a solid return policy combined with Amazon customer service. As a Nexus One owner who had warranty issues that fell to deaf ears at Google and T-mobile, I can see the strong value in sticking with Amazon instead of Google.

The real question is who will win the war in e-books? Is Google eBooks prepared to battle Amazon Kindle for Web? Who will be the last service standing in the next five years? Let us know what you think!

via ComputerWorld | Amazon

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Get your free Google Chrome OS notebook!

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 02:12 PM PST

Get your free Google Chrome OS notebook!Google Chrome OS might still need some work before an official release, but that's not stopping the search giant from rolling out a Chrome OS pilot program! Part of that program includes issuing free 12.1 inch notebooks powered by Chrome (model Cr-48) — want your chance at a free notebook?

The Cr-48 notebook being distributed by Google as part of their Pilot Program packs as a 12.1 inch display, full sized keyboard, oversized clickable trackpad, world-mode 3G, 802.11n dual band WiFi and a web cam for video chat. Taking a page from Apple's playbook, the Google notebook packs over eight hours of active use and eight days of standby.

In the major Chrome event this morning we learned that Google is not ready to take Chrome primetime, but early adopters can apply to take part in the pilot program and receive a free Google notebook. We've submitted our application, now it's time for you to do the same!

Apply Here | Google | Free

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Motorola Android Tablet ready to go to war with iPad 2?

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 02:00 PM PST

Motorola Android Tablet ready to go to war with iPad 2A shiny new Motorola Android Tablet running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is hoping to silence the Apple iPad 2 this February. At the All Things D Dive Into Mobile conference last night, Google Android boss Andy Rubin showed off the Motorola tablet and much to our surprise, it has a ten inch screen! We mentioned the tablet briefly this morning, but now it’s time to dive in deep.

Still shots do not do the Motorola tablet justice, this bad boy was slim — packing a vibrant, high-resolution ten inch display. Instead of the traditional Android hardware buttons (home/back/menu/search), all of the buttons for the tablet are on-screen activated. This means that as you rotate the tablet, the buttons follow you, nice right?

Powered by Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the Motorola tablet showed off some sexy new animations and once unlocked, we got caught a glimpse of Google Talk with video icons. When it came time for a demonstration, Mr. Rubin showed off Google Maps 5 which has 3D views of cities. He confirmed it would be coming to mobile devices within a few days so keep your eyes peeled.

One of the stand-out demonstrations with the tablet was Gmail. Google has given the app a makeover and now uses a two column interface, much like the Apple iPad's Mail App. As far as Honeycomb and the future of Android devices, Mr. Rubin confirmed Honeycomb will run on both phones and tablets. When designing apps you can specify the way it should run depending on the device (phone/tablet).

Motorola Android Tablet ready to go to war with iPad 2

One thing's for certain – Google believes in the tablet, both seven and ten inch varieties. Before closing out the presentation, Andy Rubin confirmed that both Honeycomb and the Motorola tablet will be released early next year. The rumored release date is February, the same time frame we've heard for the Apple iPad 2.

Now that Android will have a powerful ten inch tablet it's time for you to weigh in. Should Apple be worried then ten inch Motorola tablet might eat into the sales of their iPad 2? Sound off in the comments!

via AllThingsD

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Sony Bravia Internet Video adds Sky News

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 08:23 AM PST

Sony is adding Sky News to the Sony Bravia Internet Video service. This means that folks with Sony Blu-ray players, Sony Blu-ray Home Theatre Systems, or Bravia TVs can now get Sky News. This is the first news channel that Sony has added to the Sony Bravia Internet Video service, which already has Demand Five, Lovefilm, plus YouTube and Facebook.

Out now | Free | Sony Bravia Internet Video

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Best laptop for Christmas

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST

The best laptop to shunt under the Christmas this tree is a tricky ask. Normally we'd say the perfect choice depends on whether you're buying for a high-powered business type, mobile gamer or ultra-portable commuter. It doesn't need to be that complicated though, with three fantastic choices which will go down a treat this Christmas, whatever your budget.

Looking for a laptop to buy for that special friend or family member? Maybe you want to treat yourself to a shiny new portable computer. Whatever your budget you’ll find something suitable here.

If you really love them…
MacBook Pro
Buy it now!

A blessing to video editors, media hounds and posers alike. There’s tons of power in the 15-inch version with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, alongside 4GB of DDR3 memory. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, the MacBook Pro remains the best looking, easiest to use and most powerful standard-spec lap-dweller we’ve ever used.

If you really like them…
MacBook Air 11 inch 64GB
Buy it now!

The comfortable and lightweight 11.6-inch MacBook Air rocks a Core 2 Duo CPU, has a 1266×768 display and 5 hours of battery life. The Solid State Drive (SSD) is low on memory space but high on speed and response. It is a beautiful, well built computer and will doubtless prove a great buy this Christmas.

The cheapskate option…
Toshiba Portege R700
Buy it now!

This laptop is packed with value. There’s plenty of processing punch in it’s Intel Core i3-350M and 2GB of RAM, a crisp 13.3-inch screen and astounding amounts of connectivity. Integrated Intel graphics means this isn’t really a gamer’s machine but for general use this beautifully built machine comes at a great price and is bound to be a hit.

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BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs Motorola Milestone 2

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 07:36 AM PST

If you're after a smartphone for getting work done on the go then you should have your eye on the Motorola Milestone 2 and the BlackBerry Bold 9780. We're pitting two executive smartphones against each other: which one will help you speed through those emails in next to no time? Click through for a full stat clash.

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 has a sharp 480×360 resolution screen, that is surprisingly visible when you're outside and suffers from less glare than other high end smartphones. The Motorola Milestone 2 trumps it though, with a 3.7-inch FWVGA (480×854) TFT screen, which we found responsive, especially when using the onscreen keyboard.
Winner: Motorola Milestone 2

Check Out Our Most Recommended

Keyboard (Bold wins)
The first iteration of the Motorola Milestone had a keyboard so smooth and featureless that it was almost impossible to press any of the keys. The Motorola Milestone 2 does not suffer from the same affliction, with raised keys that are slightly separated. Motorola has also managed to fit in a useful Alt lock key, which is useful for typing in numbers. Unfortunately, the OK button doesn't act as a Go option when typing in search queries, but as far as high end Android keyboards go, it's still the best game in town.

Read our BlackBerry Bold 9780 review

The BlackBerry Bold on the the hand inherits its predecessors keyboard key for key, and that's a good thing. The previous iteration of the keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold was flawless: the best QWERTY in the business, and for the BlackBerry Bold 9780 there's nothing changed. We've tried many, many other phones with all sorts of keyboards, and every type of onscreen QWERTY keyboard out there, and none of them have ever come close to the accurate speed you can hit on the Bold keyboard.
Winner: BlackBerry Bold 9780

Battery life
The Motorola Milestone 2 has a battery life of almost five hours of continuous talktime from its 1400mAh battery. We pushed it through a day of reasonably heavy use. The BlackBerry Bold 9780 1500mAh battery is stellar, and can blaze through a day of heavy usage no problems, and can last over six hours with continuous chatting.
Winner: BlackBerry Bold 9780

Read our Motorola Milestone 2 review

Email support
Although Android does support excahnge, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 clinches this one because BlackBerry is the superior operatro when it comes to push notifications. The BlackBerry Bold 9780 has a unified inbox, and its push email can support up to 10 accounts. The Motorola Milestone 2 does support Exchange now through Android, but the BlackBerry Bold 9780 pips it to the post here.
Winner: BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry App World has around 10,000 apps populating it, whereas the Android Market has topped the 100,000 mark. But what counts here are the apps for productivity. The Motorola Milestone 2, running Android as it is, has a better Dropbox app, and also has better document editing apps, plus the ever valuable Chrome to Phone app, which syncs Chrome links from your computer to your smartphone.
Winner: Motorola Milestone 2

While the Motorola Milestone 2 has a much improved keyboard from the original Milestone, and is running Android, if we’re looking for the best smartphone for productivity, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 trumps the Milestone. It has a better battery life, and the keyboard is second for none, this last feature is what means you can type on the go, and get through more emails and messages than you would otherwise.

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