Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!


Spotify attacks iTunes with iPod syncing

Posted: 03 May 2011 11:11 PM PDT

iTunes haters rejoice! Spotify is about to take on Apple’s jukebox software with its next update which will sync tracks from your computer to your iPod, iPhone or Android phone.

In a move that is bound to irritate Apple, Spotify is also unveiling a music store with bundles of MP3s on offer. A bundle of 10 tracks will set you back £7.99 (just under 80p per song) while a bundle of 100 will cost £50 (50p per song, undercutting iTunes). Read on for full details on Spotify’s iTunes-fighting strategy…

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Spotify says its been working on the iPod syncing smarts for over a year and it’s managed to bake in a feature which iTunes doesn’t include yet – WiFi syncing. Obviously, the Spotify update will not allow you to put pay to iTunes for good. You’ll still need Apple’s software to sync apps, grab software updates or sync calendars, photos and videos.

If you’ve got an iPod classic, iPod nano or iPod shuffle, it’ll show up in the newly added Devices section of the Spotify desktop application and sync all playlists containing MP3s to your iPod. If there are songs that you don’t own in playlists, you’ll be offered the opportunity to grab them from the new Spotify download store.

With the iPod touch, the iPhone and Android devices, you can grab the Spotify Mobile app to wirelessly sync MP3 playlists from Spotify. It says you’ll see your device pop up under the Devices section when you fire up the mobile app.

There’s one little wrinkle in the Spotify/iTunes playlist love in right now. Spotify can only synchronise standard static playlists from iTunes and not smart playlists which update when new songs are added to the library or based on what tracks you play the most or the least. Spotify says that feature is in the works.

The Spotify update is being rolled out today with the iPhone and Android apps already updated and ready to go. Take a gander at the Spotify update for yourself and let us know what you make of it in the comments…

Out now | £free | Spotify

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New iOS Maps, 2011 iMac benchmarked, Bold 9900 UK carriers: US Update

Posted: 03 May 2011 06:24 PM PDT

New iOS Maps, 2011 iMac benchmarked, Bold 9900 UK carriers: US UpdateWelcome to another morning edition of the US Update. I'll be your host, Nick Marshall, as we take a journey through the wonderful world of tech news this fine Wednesday. We start things off with reports of a new iOS Maps application, jump on over to the first 2011 iMac benchmarks and close the show with a list of carriers confirmed to launch the new Bold 9900 in the UK. Let's begin, shall we?

A new iOS Maps engineer job posting went live this morning. Duties include working on "innovative features" and "sophisticated user interfaces". Could this be a sign Apple is ready to challenge the Google Maps experience on Android with its own rendition? The entry-level 2011 iMac has been benchmarked, scoring an impressive mark of 7367 in Geekbench 2.1.13 (32-bit). This beats the Mid 2010 iMac running the Intel Core i3 550 3.2 GHz two core processor by nearly 26 percent!

Industry insider DigiTimes is reporting Quanta Computer has recently received OEM orders from Amazon for a purported tablet. Word on the street is monthly orders are expected to reach 700,000 to 800,000 units with shipments beginning in the second half of 2011. Today, Microsoft released the iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tools to help developers make the seamless transition when porting their iPhone apps to WP7. If you are a current iOS developer looking to port your app(s) to Windows Phone 7, today is your lucky day.

Last up this morning, two UK operators have stepped up to the plate, confirming they'll land their own BlackBerry Bold 9900s. Both Vodafone and Three are signed up for RIM's latest flagship, but don't be surprised if Orange and T-mobile also join in the fun.

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 headed to Vodafone and Three UK, Orange and T-mobile expected to follow suit

Posted: 03 May 2011 06:13 PM PDT

BlackBerry Bold 9900 headed to Vodafone and Three UK, Orange and T-mobile expected to follow suitYesterday RIM went on a press release rampage, announcing the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 along with a host of other software-centric updates. Today, two UK operators have stepped up to the plate, confirming they'll land their own BlackBerry Bold 9900s. Both Vodafone and Three are signed up for RIM's latest flagship, but don't be surprised if Orange and T-mobile also join in the fun.

Sometimes landing details on a device release and pricing is a bit like pulling teeth. For the Bold 9900, this is exactly the case as neither Vodafone nor Three have provided much in the way of details on the new Bold. Both pricing and release date information is being held close to the hip (for now), so we don't have much in the way of specifics. What we can tell you is that the alliance of T-mobile and Orange, better known as Everything Everywhere, is also expected to release its own variant.

We'll just have to hang tight for the 1.2 GHz processor, 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen, 8GB of on-board memory, 5-megapixel camera and 720p HD video recording, the 9900 brings to the table. Be sure to stay glued to the site as we track down a review unit, but in the meantime take a look at our Bold 9900 vs 9780 comparison.

via Pocket-Lint

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Microsoft lures iOS developers with new iPhone to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool

Posted: 03 May 2011 05:58 PM PDT

Microsoft lures iOS developers with new iPhone to Windows Phone 7 API mapping toolWindows Phone 7 is looking for new app developer talent. Today, Microsoft released the iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tools to help developers make the seamless transition and possibly even a new revenue stream. As the self described "coding translation dictionary", the API mapping tool could single-handedly change the dynamic and quality of WP7 apps for the better.

Without going too deep in the technical details of the WP7 API mapping tools, here's what you need to know. Simply grab your iOS app with the tool, pick out the iOS API calls and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7. Additionally, you can search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations on both platforms.

If you are a current iOS developer looking to port your app(s) to Windows Phone 7, today is your lucky day.

Try out the iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool

via Windows Phone Blog

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Amazon tablet headed your way in late 2011

Posted: 03 May 2011 05:39 PM PDT

Amazon tablet headed your way in late 2011Industry insider DigiTimes is reporting Quanta Computer has recently received OEM orders from Amazon for a purported tablet. The Amazon tablet will receive full support from Taiwan-based electrophoretic display (EPD) maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) for its touch panel as well as providing its Fringe Field Switching (FFS) technology. Word on the street is monthly orders are expected to reach 700,000 to 800,000 units with shipments beginning in the second half of 2011.

Due to luke-warm Amazon Kindle sales outside of North America and Europe, the company will reportedly further reduce the price of its e-reader. Part two of the attack will be releasing a tablet. With a firm grasp in software, thanks in part to its own Android App Store, Amazon believes it has the resources to do battle with Apple's iPad 2. For now, all of the companies mentioned in the DigiTimes report declined to comment, so please take today's news with a grain of salt (for now).

On the plus side, Quanta Computer is currently the tablet PC OEM partner of RIM and Sony, boosting our level of confidence surround today's claims.

via DigiTimes

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Entry-level 2011 iMac benchmark validates Sandy Bridge dominance

Posted: 03 May 2011 05:01 PM PDT

Entry-level 2011 iMac benchmark validates Sandy Bridge dominanceThe first benchmark has been registered for a 2011 iMac (iMac12,1) packing an Intel Core i5-2400S processor clocked at 2.50 GHz. This processor offers four cores and scored an impressive 7367 mark on Geekbench 2.1.13 (32-bit). To put this score into perspective, the Mid 2010 iMac running the Intel Core i3 550 3.2 GHz two core processor score 5834 on the same test.

If you've been waiting on the sidelines wondering whether Sandy Bridge iMacs would deliver compelling performance over the original Intel Core processor, how does a 26 percent performance boost sound? This is exactly what you can expect when choosing the new 21.5 Core i5 iMac. Factor in Thunderbolt, new graphics, a FaceTime HD camera and it looks like Apple has another winner.

Entry-level 2011 iMac benchmark validates Sandy Bridge dominance

Feel free to submit your own Geekbench scores if you happen to get your hands on new iMac this week. We'd love to see how the BTO 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 stacks up against our current BTO 2.93 GHZ Intel Core i7.

[Update: It appears our wish has been granted by Tom's Hardware, check out the full benchmarks here.  It looks like the top-of-the-line BTO iMac is between 12 and 22 percent faster than the 2010 BTO model]

via Geekbench

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iOS Maps to match Google Maps for Android, job posting implies

Posted: 03 May 2011 04:39 PM PDT

iOS Maps to match Google Maps for Android, job posting impliesA fresh new job posting has appeared for the Cupertino camp with its sights set on landing an iOS Maps engineer. Duties include working on "innovative features" and "sophisticated user interfaces". Could this be a sign Apple is ready to challenge the Google Maps experience on Android with its own rendition?

Truth be told, Google Maps offers a considerably superior experience on an Android handset when compared to any iOS device, whether that be an iPhone, iPod touch or even a shiny new iPad 2. Factor in Google Navigation beta and Maps for iOS falls further behind the competition. Yes, there are third party solutions in the App Store, but the status quo requires a free solution on par with Google's offering.

Enter, the new job posting for a iOS Maps engineer. The new position is focused on the two areas which iOS Maps greatly needs improvement: features and user interface. What remains to be seen is whether Apple plans on adding features to the existing Google-provided mapping data or whether it will licensing its own satellite imagery and turn-by-turn directions. We'll be following this one closely and with any luck free navigation will be headed to an iOS update very soon.

via 9to5Mac

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Microsoft attack dog Steve Ballmer announces Bing for BlackBerry (and rips into Android)

Posted: 03 May 2011 10:23 AM PDT

BlackBerry came out with all guns blazing at its annual BlackBerry World conference earlier today. After highlighting the fact it had sold 150million BlackBerry smartphones to date (10-percent of which were sold in the last quarter), RIM invited Microsoft's Steve Baller on stage to put the boot into Android.

The super-rich slap-head was there to announce that BlackBerry and Microsoft are cosying up, with Bing set to be the default search engine on BlackBerry devices from Christmas 2011. Said Ballmer, 'We're not just thinking about it as an app, but a highly integrated solution'. In practice, that means Bing could offer up information it thinks is useful based on a users location – rather than just dumbly awaiting for a user to perform a search. A demo showed Bing supplying a floor plan of a hotel – not fascinating, but enough to hint at serious potential.

More importantly, Ballmer found time to dish out a smackdown in the direction of Android: 'The volumes have risen but it has caused an ensuing chaos that has frustrated consumers' he said, before describing Apple’s iOS as ‘limited’.

Having now aligned themselves with both BlackBerry and Nokia, are Microsoft set to once again become a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone arena? Four words for you: ‘I love this company!’

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Best smartphone deals of the week: White iPhone 4, HTC Desire S, Samsung Galaxy S and more!

Posted: 03 May 2011 07:45 AM PDT

For some reason, late Spring sees a bunch of big name phones released at exactly the same time, so it can be a tough call to choose between them. If you’re at the end of your contract, it’s one you’ll have to make however: we’ve made it easier for you by selecting the ones that’ll get you a brand new blower at an affordable price. Read on to see our deals of the week.

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White iPhone 4 16GB
3 Mobile | 2000 mins, 5000 texts, unlimited data, handset £69, 24 months | £35.00 per month
It’s alive! Apple’s most delayed mobile ever has landed, bringing a beautiful new shade to match the brilliant iOS software running under the hood. The finest handset on the market, but even sexier, with unlimited data. WIN.

See all white iPhone 4 deals

HTC Desire S
O2 | 300 mins, unlimited texts, 100MB Internet, free handset, 24 months | £24 per month
It’s 2010′s most popular Android phone, with a new aluminium unibody chassis that’s to die for. Well, not actually die, then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the HTC Desire S‘ Android 2.3 software and features. But you know, it’s good! And this time, it’s priced as a mid-range smartphone, despite its high end specs.

See al HTC Desire S deals

Nokia N8 (refurbished)
3 Mobile | 500 mins, 5000 texts, 1GB internet, free handset, 24 months | £20 per month

Symbian may be on the way out in a year or so, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an OS filled to bursting with apps. And running on the Nokia N8, some of the finest hardware around, it runs like a dream – and costs you a very real bargain.

See all Nokia N8 deals

Samsung Galaxy S
Orange | 300 mins, unlimited texts, £20 auto cashback, free handset, 24 months | £20 per month

Last year’s best Android phone is still a powerhouse even today – it’s as powerful as the Google Nexus S, even cheaper, and is set to get a fresh Android 2.3 update. For £20 per month, it’s an absolute steal.

See all Samsung Galaxy S deals

BlackBerry Curve 3G
Vodafone | 100 mins, 500 texts, 250MB Internet, free handset, 18 months | £25 per month!

Everyone loves a short eighteen month contract, and everyone loves them when they come with a free BlackBerry. Like this one! It’s got 3G and GPS in, a first for an entry level handset from RIM, and making it a must have for BBM fans.

See all BlackBerry Curve 3G deals

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Motorola Atrix Android 2.3 update to hit UK and US at the same time

Posted: 03 May 2011 06:44 AM PDT

We’ve been at the UK launch of the Motorola Atrix today, ahead of its release through Orange tomorrow, and we’ve picked up some interesting details. The Motorola Atrix will be getting an Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” update in the UK – and it could be at the same time as the update rolls out in the US.

Check out the list to the right

We asked Motorola’s vice president of international marketing, Andrew Morley, whether there were plans for the Motorola Atrix to receive an update form 2.2 Froyo to 2.3 Gingerbread in the UK. His answer? “Yes, there are. We haven’t announced timings but we have announced plans for the intentions.”

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Motorola’s European arm has previously been notoriously tardy updating previous Android phones compared to its prompt US side, but Morley says that we could see the 2.3 update roll out on to Atrix phones on both sides of the pond simultaneously. “Yes, that would certainly be the desire,” he told us, though he did point out that the Motorola Atrix has been on sale through AT&T in the US already for more than a month.

Would a prompt 2.3 update make you consider the Motorola Atrix over the Samsung Galaxy S 2? Let us know in the comments!

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