Thursday, 9 December 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

US Update: TI OMAP 4440, iTunes, Android, iPad 2

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 07:00 PM PST

US Update: TI OMAP 4440, iTunes, Android, iPad 2It's that time again for your daily US Update. We've got you covered with news on the upcoming TI OMAP 4440, the Tegra 2 killer, iTunes has bumped up song previews to 90 seconds, Android 2.3 Gingerbread is ported to the HTC HD2 and more.

Just when we thought the Tegra 2 processor was the cat's meow, TI has fired back with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, the TI OMAP4440. The manufacturer expects devices to ship in early 2011, but we're just hoping a few prototypes show up at CES this January in Las Vegas.

iTunes had decided to bump the 60 second song preview to 90 seconds. At the moment it looks like the change is only showing in the US iTune Store, but keep your eyes peeled for the UK update. The Android Market billing system took a hit this weekend as many developers reported "payment declined" notifications topping nearly 50% of their app sales. Google has responded, but will the refund developers their 30 percent?

Android 2.3 Gingerbread has now been ported to the HTC HD2. Along with eight other devices, you can now download the Android 2.3 SDK and give the world of Gingerbread a spin. Last up this morning is news that the Apple iPad 2 will not feature an OLED display. The current demand has put a strain on Samsung Mobile Display so mass production of a 9.7 inch screen is simply not possible (for now).

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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Apple iPad 2 will not use an OLED display?

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 06:00 PM PST

Apple iPad 2 will not use an OLED display?The second generation iPad, iPad 2, will be released in the first quarter of 2011. The updated display is rumored to run at Retina resolution, but it will not feature OLED display technology. Samsung Mobile Display, which currently holds 98 percent of the OLED market simply, can't deliver the number of panels Apple requires.

OLED displays are something of a scarcity in the mobile world these days. Current supply simply can't cope with the growing demand. As we first saw with the HTC Droid Incredible, sometimes manufacturers are forced to change their product based upon manufacturing levels. The Apple iPad 2 will be another device that must use a traditional LCD display and instead rely on IPS technology combined with a Retina display.

According to, Samsung Mobile Display boosted production with a new 5.5 gen plant this year. With their current infrastructure, the company is only able to mass produce the 4.2 inch AMOLED or Super AMOLED panels – the panels being used in the Galaxy S, Nexus S and some Nokia and HTC smartphones. With the growing demand for these devices, a 9.7 inch OLED display would not be possible for mass production.

Back at FPD-International, Samsung Mobile Display showcased a seven inch AMOLED display for a tablet. We all know where Steve Jobs stands on the idea of a seven inch tablet, but even if Apple decided to opt for the smaller size, that was only a prototype which Samsung said would be not be ready until Q3 2011.

There have been reports of Samsung and LG planning to invest 17 billion in AM-OLED through 2015, but until that investment turns into new operating factories, the market demand will continue to outpace supply. With that being said, the current generation iPad has a killer display and the LCD panel still offers many benefits over OLED displays – the most notable is direct sunlight visibility.

With the news that the iPad 2 will not feature an OLED display, how does this affect your view on the next-generation iPad 2? Is this a deal breaker or are you currently happy with Apple's display and will the higher resolution, Retina display, be more than enough to win you over?

via OLED-Displays | Coming Soon

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Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK ported to HTC HD2?

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 05:00 PM PST

Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK ported to HTC HD2?The kings of ROMs, xda-developers, have just updated their list of phones running Android 2.3, Gingerbread. One of the unlikely candidates included in that list is the HTC HD2, but there's eight other devices, are ready to find out the rest?

Described as "for testing and playing purposes", ROMs are the bread and butter of the underground community, a community which most recently includes Android. The self-described open source OS has made it easy for determined programmers to port the OS to new and exciting devices such as the HTC HD2.

As of today, that list includes the HTC Droid Eris, HTC Hero, HTC Hero CDMA, HTC Desire, HTC Wildfire, HTC EVO 4G, HTC Incredible and HTC Sapphire. Nine excellent HTC devices all running the next version of Android. Please keep in mind that SDK ROMs are not typically ready for prime time and as the name suggests, they are intended for developers only.

Included in today's announcement, xda-developers has made it clear that these ROMs "only boot, and they only show you the Gingerbread interface. Nothing more. You can't do anything with it". We're not exactly sold on validity of this statement, but we'll keep in mind before we get to some testing.

With that being said, we wouldn't steer you clear of giving the ROMs a thorough testing and if you choose to take the challenge, do let us know your thoughts on Gingerbread. We're eager to get our Nexus One updated or a review unit of the Google Nexus S, so rest assure we'll be joining you shortly.

via xda-developers

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Android Market billing woes leave developers furious

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 04:00 PM PST

Android Market billing woes leave developers furiousDeveloping a quality Android app deserves both recognition and some form of monetary gain. Unfortunately it seems that the Android Market billing is failing to deliver on the latter. A quick look over at the Android Market forums and you'll see the problem is spreading like wildfire, so what's the deal Google?

Starting on December 5, "payment was declined" notifications began showing their ugly face to developers selling apps in the Android Market. At first the problem seemed localized to a select few, but in the days following many developers reported nearly 50 percent of their orders showing "payment declined".

For the moment the problem seems to be fixed, albeit temporarily. Some of the "payment declined" transactions have kicked into "cleared payment". The bigger problem is that during the past three days, Google offered no support or response to support tickets and developers were losing revenue – you know, cold hard cash.

Many of the developers affected by the bug have demanded refunds from Google while others are simply looking for an honest explanation. During the outage, Google was still earning their 30 percent share of app sales despite developers not receiving payment so we can see the strong argument for a refund.

At the time of writing this piece, a Google representative did shed some light on the situation:

"As I mentioned on the other thread, we do deeply regret the inconvenience and pain caused to all of you, and take our responsibility to our merchants and developers very seriously. I certainly didn't mean to be dismissive in my response."

So should Google refund the 30% it received for app sales during the outage? Let us know what you think and if you are currently a developer for Android and had a similar issue over the weekend, drop us a line. We're crossing our fingers in hopes that this was just a one-time glitch.

via AndroidandMe | Android Market Forum

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iTunes bumps song previews to 90 seconds!

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 03:00 PM PST

iTunes bumps song previews to 90 seconds!The iTunes Connect memo sent out the Label Representatives has proven accurate as iTunes now offers song previews of 90 seconds, up from 60 seconds. With a minute and a half length you are now able to listen to nearly half of most songs. Short of offering the entire song for preview, Apple has listened to the users and given us what we want.

With all great news comes a catch. As the original memo hinted, the 90-second song previews would only be available in the US (for now). Seeing as we can't exactly check the UK iTunes store, we need your help. Check the iTunes store and give us a shout if you notice the 90 second song previews on your side of the pond, sound good?

via 9to5Mac | iTunes Music Store

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TI challenges Tegra 2 with dual-core OMAP4440 Cortex-A9

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 02:00 PM PST

TI challenges Tegra 2 with dual-core OMAP4440 Cortex-A9Step aside Tegra 2, there's a new challenger headed your way — introducing the TI OMAP4400. This dual-core Cortex-A9 processor runs at a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and promises to raise the bar for smartphone and tablet performance, up to 200 percent. Are you ready for the next generation of mobile processors?

It's easy to get caught up in the spec wars currently underway in the mobile processor segment. NVIDIA's Tegra 2 has been dominating the headlines, but today Texas Instruments (TI) has come to stake its claim with the OMAP4440. A dual-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9 processor is TIs answer for the Tegra 2 and judging by the claimed performance, we'd have to agree.

Compared to the current generation OMAP4430 it plans to replace, the OMAP4440 offers a 1.25x increase in graphics performance, 30 percent decrease in web page load times and a 2x increase in 1080P video playback. Paired with a PWERVR 3D graphics engine, the potential for the new processor is tremendous and honestly we can't wait until we see the chip shipping in handsets.

TI challenges Tegra 2 with dual-core OMAP4440 Cortex-A9

The real question with these next-generation processor, the OMAP4440 and Tegra 2, is whether or not they'll be able to deliver sufficient battery life. Speed and battery life are always in a constant power struggle. We've already seen the current generation of Snapdragon processors take their tole on battery life so we'd be remised to say we weren't worried.

With just over three weeks until we head off to Las Vegas for CES, we can't help but wonder if we'll see any devices (tablets or mobile phones) powered by the OMAP4440. The press release does not list a release date or out any devices, but it does mention that "devices will ship next year". We'll keep our fingers crossed, the OMAP4440 is sure to be a show stopper.

Coming Soon | TI

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Teatime Tech: Sony Ericsson LiveView, Freeview on your iPad and your desert island smartphone

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 10:01 AM PST

The end of the working day is nigh, but we work around the clock since the gadget news never, ever stops. Still, now’s a good a time as any to take a quick breather and catch up with all the biggest stories from the afternoon, broken down into bitesized chunks. Read on for your Teatime Tech!

There’s lots going down in mobile right now. On the iOS side of things, you dear readers voted the iPhone 4 your ultimate desert island smartphone, Tizi outed a way to pick up Freeview on your iOS device, while Apple approved a potential game Center rival from EA. Over with Android, we’ve got a special discount on the Sony Ericsson LiveView remote for you, so be sure to check it out.

On the interwebs meanwhile, we looked at a new Twitter knitting campaign for charity, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away his wealth.

Finally, be sure to check out this hilarious safe sex warning video, complete with 8-bit retro game styling!

Still starving? The homepage will help you out, with new stories landing on it non-stop. Head on over there now!

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Epic Mickey review roundup

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 08:22 AM PST

Disney’s Epic Mickey for Wii was the talk of E3, thanks to the family entertainment giant’s surprising move to cede creative control of its most famous character over to Warren Spector, a man better known for dark, adult games like System Shock and Deus Ex. Could this really be the same company who pumps out cross platform cash-ins for all its new movies?

The game’s now on sale and the first verdicts are out, so see what the gaming gurus made of this bold move in our Epic Mickey review roundup.

Check out the list to the right

IGN’s Matt Wales was mesmerised by the unexpectedly dark setting in Epic Mickey – which takes place in the Wasteland, a demented, dilapidated version of Disney’s theme parks ruled over by forgotten cartoon creation Oswald the Rabibt. “It’s a twisted mirror-image version of Disney’s iconic theme parks, stuffed full of glorious details that make exploring the Wasteland an absolute delight for Disney fans…The result is a loving tribute to the mouse and one of the most strikingly original, thoroughly charming adventures to hit Wii or any other console,” he wrote.

Wales was also impressed by the element of morality and decision making in Epick Mickey you’d expect from Bioware rather than Disney. “The more interesting tasks factor in a degree of morality (do you deliberately sabotage someone’s relationship to reap the sizeable reward?) while others test your wits and powers of observation. At one point, you’re tasked with rescuing a character from a safe dangling from above – the easy solution is to cut the rope and free the prisoner but you’ll need to find a smarter approach to avoid squashing the character below and closing off additional side-quest opportunities.”

But though IGN rated both the 3D and 2D levels in this action game, the former caused some serious gripes. “Let’s hear it for the eternal bugbears of the 3D platformer – camera and controls. The game’s semi-autonomous camera tends toward the sluggish with a spectacular knack for finding the most impractical viewing angles the further you stray from the main path.” Still, you might be willing to put up with this to play a game that’s otherwise “richly imaginative and thoroughly charming”.

Check out our Best Wii games Top 5 now

The Guardian’s Steve Boxer meanwhile loved the combination of classed Disney and a Spector twist, and the resulting graphical delight. “Spector was let loose in the company’s archive and clearly revelled in what he found. Graphically, the game is as good as anything we’ve seen on the Wii, striking a great balance between cuteness and the odd hint of menace”. He found however that the problematic camera is actually “at its worst in the earlier stages”, so it might be worth grinning and bearing it for a few levels.

Destructoid – a site we expected to be least bothered by the Disney setting – actually adored the storyline above all else. “With Disney, I almost take it for granted that the storyline is going to be a throwaway, packed with one-dimensional characters, but top quality craftsmanship will make up for whatever issues I have with the narrative content. With Epic Mickey, the exact opposite was true. If it weren’t for the storyline, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to finish this game,” wrote Jonathan Holmes.

But that same problem came up once again – the iffy camera. “It’s ironic that the game’s writing does such a great job of showing off its characters from multiple angles, while the in-game camera has the horrid tendency to auto-adjust to the most unhelpful positions”.

Gamespot however found the mis en scene did not outweight the gameplay control frustrations, and marked the game much lower than other outlets, at just 6/10. The “artistic touches are not enough to salvage the rest of the dour experience.,” wrote Tom McShea. “A number of fundamental design flaws derail this colorful adventure before it ever has a chance to get going…Its lifeless experience is further hampered by the bland 2D platforming levels between each section…(and) fundamental design flaws.” Ouch.


No reviewers were left disappointed by the setting of Epic Mickey and the truly unexpected Disney twist, but almost every critic came away feeling that the camera marred the experience substantially. Only Gamespot had anything bad to say about the game’s combat system however, which involves Mickey painting or “thinning” out enemies with a brush.

It looks like Epic Mickey won’t trouble this Christmas’ best Xbox and PS3 games, but if you only have a Wii, it should prove hours of fun for adults and kids alike, especially if you’ve already thrown Donkey Kong Country Returns out of the windows in frustration.

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Sony Ericsson LiveView: save 20% with our discount code

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST

You've seen our guide to the Sony Ericsson LiveView, but if you fancy snapping one up before Christmas you can save 20% with our exclusive discount code. Read on, and see how to save money on Sony Ericsson's Android accessory.

Click through to the Sony Ericsson store and buy a Sony Ericsson LiveView. At the checkout, simply redeem our 20% discount code by typing SELV1 into the coupon box.

The offer's valid for a limited time, and when the discount quota is gone, the offer will no longer be valid, so snap yours up now to avoid disappointment.

Want to know what the Sony Ericsson LiveView is capable of? See our videos and guides below!

See more Sony Ericsson LiveView guides!

Gossip in secret with LiveView Twitter access
10 lifesaving LiveView shortcuts to accelerate your life!

Sony Ericsson LiveView: 5 surprise innovations to wow your mates
Five ways to manage your mobile life better with Sony Ericsson LiveView

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Twitter Knitter: tweet to clothe the homeless

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 07:58 AM PST

Do a good deed from your desk today, and send a tweet to Twitter Knitter. Twitter Knitter is a group of volunteers who are sewing your tweets into scarves for the homeless of Camden to keep them warm this Christmas. To tweet, go to the Twitter Knitter site, or tweet with the hashtag #WarmUpCamden. You don’t have to donate anything, except your witty and warm yuletide tweets. There’s no reason not to.

Better get your skates on, there’s only three days left to tweet!

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