Friday 29 June 2012


Microsoft Surface really did put off OEM's?

   There have been reports today that, in spite of the positive reactions of the press, Microsoft's surface really did put off their other OEM partners from continuing with their Windows 8 tablet plans.

   One company this has had a significant effect on, is reported, to be HP. Given the obvious failings of the Hewlett Packard's Touchpad last year, it's quite understandable that they are cautious when it comes to tablets. Microsoft themselves supposedly commented that, “If Microsoft had seen compelling enough plans from [PC makers],” Moor Insights & Strategy’s Patrick Moor said, after talks with Windows RT OEMs, ”they wouldn’t have needed to do this". This clearly demonstrates the failings of the plans from HP and their competitors.

   The story here focuses particularly on Windows RT because the reported $90 pricetag on that version of Windows 8 is off-putting for potential partners, this is something Microsoft themselves are exempt from because the Surface tablets are made in-house. This is said to be pushing other OEM's into the hands of the OpenSource (and free) Android Operating System.Although no other specific names are mentioned, sources apparently claim that “just about every OEM out there is scrapping one or more [Windows RT] designs, with most renewing Android efforts with every resource at their disposal."

Chrome for iOS already a top app!

   Less than two days after the app launched onto iOS, Chrome for iPad and iPhone is already a hit! The reality is that the app is just a skin on top of Safari in iOS because of Apple's restrictions, but that doesn't stop it being awesome!

   So far there have been well over 4,000 reviews of the app and 80% of posts have given the app the full 5 star rating, with the app currently averaging 4.5stars!

   If you didn't hear the app was available then head to your app store and hit download on Chrome! It's free!

In other news:

  • Google admits MacBook Chrome crash bug, but blames faults in Apple's kernel for being partly to blame as well, they've informed Apple of the issue!
  • Matias Duarte, Android's headhoncho for the User Interface, has suggested ailing RIM could turn towards Android. He said that the company could make some great Android hardware and we have to agree! Although, there's rumours Microsoft could repeat the 'Nokia process' on them!
  • Google has claimed the creation of the Nexus 7 is proof that they won't automatically give Motorola priority over the rest of their OEM partners!
  • Twitter for Windows Phone has now received Push notifications!
  • A Google Nexus 10 is reportedly in the works!
  • Adobe has reported they will pull support for Flash in Android in Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) so no more flash!
  • RIM reports dire Q1 2012 results; there's a $518m loss and BlackBerry 10 has been delayed until Q1 2013!

Thursday 28 June 2012


Microsoft details the Windows 8 upgrade path!

   According to ZDNet’s 'reputable' sources, users upgrading to the new Windows 8, the entry-level consumer version, from Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, and Windows 7 Home Premium will be able to transfer all of their current settings, personal files and applications, just as they are at the moment! The same will apply for users who upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from all varieties of Windows 7. The same goes for all Enterprise versions of Windows 7 which will be upgraded!

   However, users who upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows Vista without SP1will only be able to retain personal files and but won't be able to transfer Windows settings. If SP1 is installed before the upgrade then personal data and system settings will be maintained. But, users upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows XP with SP3 or higher will only be able to retain personal files.

   There's a lot of details to consider if you do choose to upgrade, but it might be worth holding off for a while on Windows 8 until it's been thoroughly reviewed and tested so that all the initial bugs get ironed out!

In other news:

  • Google Docs has added offline support from today!
  • Chrome hits the iPad and iPhone today!
  • Chrome now has 310million users and is the world's most popular browser!
  • Atari is offering 100 iOS games for free to celebrate their 40th birthday!
  • Nokia has officially announced they have a contingency plan if Windows Phone doesn't pan out as a success.
  • The Google Nexus Q has been hacked to run games so it should be good!
  • Nokia's Lumia 710 and 800 both received the Windows Phone 7 Tango update today!

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Absolutely everything you need to know from the Google I/O Keynote!

   Today Google has had their annual announcement/press conference/ everything you need to know about Android day and along with that came the ever exciting keynote. This one in particular, was so good people on Twitter have literally been calling it the 'best keynote ever'! And lets find out why!

   The Nexus 7.

Google's Nexus 7 tablet outed before IO 2012 update now with specs, price

   It's hard to choose the best place to start with the sheer amount of events from today, but the widely rumoured Google tablet definitely did come to fruition, with a few very pleasant surprises too!

    Firstly, the specs of this 7 incher are very solid indeed. The screen has a resolution of 1280x800 and it's an IPS display, which is coated in "scratch-resistant Corning glass". At the moment we can only assume this is a variety of the extremely robust Gorilla glass. As well as this great screen, there's a front-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera, but no rear camera, which arguably isn't particularly useful on a tablet anyway!

   Inside there's 1GB of RAM, and NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 SoC. Connectivity options are as diverse as you would expect thanks to the GPS, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Micro USB options and as a bonus there's NFC for all your Android Beaming needs.The battery is rated at 4325mAh and the usual spate of sensors: accelerometer, magnetometer, and a gyroscope are all present and counted for. 

   The whole device has been squeezed down to 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm and you have a choice of either 8 (£159 or $199) or 16GB (£199 or $249) of storage. This is an insanely cheap price for what you actually get here. The devices will be available on the Play store in the USA for pre-order now and the UK has the same option now too! And you can expect the device to land on your doorstep in mid-July!

   The video below is a brief introduction to the tablet and the new version of Android, which is called Jelly Bean or 4.1!

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean!

Google Android 4.1 Jellybean coming to Samsung Galaxy Nexus

   This is the latest update to Google's Android Operating System and appears to be a minor upgrade over ICS. The update has been confirmed to be available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom in mid-July as an OTA update, and the SDK will be available today as part of a developer preview.

   One of the biggest features is Project Butter, a huge effort by Google to improve performance and response time. The whole system will be ticking over at 60fps from now on, and while the difference of a few miliseconds might sound minimal but, the guys over at Engadget have described it as 'glaringly apparently the moment you run Jelly Bean next to an ICS device', so it must be a very notable improvement. Animations are said to appear a lot smoother and quicker and your devices CPU immediately increases it's speed the second a touch is detected to ensure an almost immediate response.

   The home screen has also been reconfigured, with the addition of some clever features like dynamically resizable widgets, so you don't have to run through the steps of; placing, resizing and again placing it exactly where you want it. From now on if there is room on a home screen, but your app icons are a little in the way, the widget will automatically push them off to the side or to the next 'page'. Another nice touch, which is undoubtedly inspired by Mathias Duarte's efforts with WebOS, apps and widgets can now be removed by flinging them off the screen. Another highly useful addition is offline voice input. Now you can tap the microphone and dictate a message even with the phone in airplane mode, saving you time and your internet allowance!

   The camera app, which was really sold in ICS has been updated again in Andorid 4.1. The gallery's integration has been tightened up and looks great. It allows you to quickly pull up the photo you just took with a swipe to the left. You can continue swiping through your images or you can pinch to zoom out and view all your images in a filmstrip view. Deleting images is as simple as swiping a pic off the screen and, if you've manage to accidentally removed one, a quick tap of the undo button restores it, because we can see a lot of accidental swipes going on here. And both images and video can be shared using Google Beam, and Android now supports pairing with Bluetooth devices with the assistance of NFC.


The Nexus Q.

   Google's first own-brand consumer electronics product is a small, sphere-shaped device that will work with the Nexus 7 tablet and other Android devices to stream media from the cloud. It's designed to take centre stage in a living room, preferably yours, with the ability to pull content from YouTube and the Google Play music app, among other services, allowing you stream music and video. Anyone with an Android device will be able to take control of the Q to play content from their library; basically, everyone can be the DJ. What's more, the device can double as an amplifier, letting users plug in external speakers to receiver power from the Q's 25-watt amp.

   The device will be powered by an OMAP 4460 processor, that's the same chips that's in the Galaxy Nexus, and there's also 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. The connectivity options include dual-band WiFi and Ethernet, together with Bluetooth and NFC for tapping a device to the Q to exchange software and media. The little streamer will go on sale for $299 in mid-July. Google will also offer up a set of $399 Triad bookshelf speakers to go with the Q, it's expensive by my goodness it's also uber cool! 

   For those of you who care about employment opportunities, the Nexus Q will be entirely constructed in the United States!

All the other details:


  • Google+ has 250 million users, more mobile users than desktop users interestingly!
  • Google has announced Google+ Events.
  • Google+ on Android and iPad have got specific tablet versions!


  • Google Play has started offering movies, TV shows and magazines from today!
  • Google has cut the price of the Galaxy Nexus to $349 and it now comes with Jelly Bean.
  • 400 million Android devices have been sold in total, with 1 million activations per day!
  • Google Play now has 600,000 apps and has had 20 billion downloads.
  • Google's Project Glass has official availability for early 2013! The 'Explorer addition' which is demoed in the video below, will set you back $1500.

Tuesday 26 June 2012


BBM on BB10 leaks!

   With a whole host of information trickling out of Canada about RIM's future plans for their Blackberry smartphones, we have some news today which concerns one of the platforms most popular features, BBM. 

   The messaging system will of course be carried forward into to currently unreleased and QNX-based, BB10 operating system. The picture above points to how the device will look and again the L-series device is shown on the right hand side above.

   There's also a choice of colour schemes as you can see to the right. The colour scheme can be changed to your preference or just to save battery! A small change to the colours from white to black can reduce the battery consumption by about 25% and it's reported to be possible to save up to 75% just by changing a few other colours on OLED screens!

   So BB10 is starting to take shape, but will you be on board when it officially launches in the fall or are you going to be splashing out on a new iPhone, Galaxy S3 or something else before that time comes around.

In other news:

  • Firefox for Android has officially left beta complete with a host of performance optimisations and other general improvements!
  • Bing maps had added 165TB's of new images to their mapping to make sure you never get lost!
  • Facebook has quietly ended support for their controversial 'Find Friends Nearby' option which was always slightly 'dodgy' if you get what we mean!
  • The Nokia 808 Pureview has gone up for sale on Amazon UK for the lofty price of £499.98 or about 770 of the finest American Dollar. If you really must have the undisputed best cameraphone in the world then you're going to have to cough up!
  • HTC has released the new HTC Connect as a direct challenger to Apple's lauded Airplay functionality.
  • And finally, it has come to light that Microsoft had access to their OEM partners plans for Windows 8 before they went ahead and produced their Surface tablets, so obviously they weren't up to scratch!


Monday 25 June 2012


RIM planning to separate and sell off Blackberry?

    There's been some interesting news today with regard to RIM and the future of their ailing Blackberry smartphones. The UK newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, has suggested that RIM is considering splitting up the BlackBerry business and selling off the handset manufacturing arm. The sources have claimed both Amazon and Facebook are potential suitors. Although, details of any possible deals are very near and far between, and the newspaper offered no sources in its report; RIM is also said to be weighing the possibility of using the messaging division to act as a standalone business, if that would boost performance.

   This would be a very interesting progression if this did happen and the buck doesn't stop with Facebook and Amazon rumours. Microsoft have also announced their own brand tablet just last week, so it is possible they want their own hardware department too, although they have categorically denied any plans for making their own Windows Phone for the moment.

   If there's any progression on this news then you'll be the first to know!

RIM's BB10 Plans!

   It looks like RIM have stolen the news today, with the second bit of news being that the company plans two of devices.

    The news has been sourced by N4BB and they claim RIM is readying the full-touch BlackBerry L-Series, complete with a 768 x 1280 display AND the BlackBerry N-Series, which will have a QWERTY keyboard and a 720 x 720 display. So good high resolutions on both counts here.

   The L-Series, which you may  previously have heard of under its codename of “London”, is very similar to the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device we saw earlier in the year.If the specs are to be believed the device measures 55mm wide and has a super good 356ppi screen.

   The N-Series was codenamed “Nevada” and is said to be 52-53mm wide, with a square screen with a 330ppi resolution, which is 6 pixels per inch less than an iPhone. The first model in this particular series is rumoured to use an OLED panel, but future devices might opt for LCD instead, something which would bring down the price noticably.

   If you can't wait for these new Blackberry's, then you could reportedly expect to get the L-Series as soon as September 2012. The N-Series, however, with that physical keyboard will have to wait until Q1 2013 at the earliest.

In other news.

  • iOS 6 maps will have Yelp check-in built into it!
  • Microsoft were asked directly whether they had plans to release their own brand Windows Phone, but for the moment the reply from Greg Sullivan, the senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, said, "No, we do not."
  • AT&T's Galaxy S2 has finally got its Android 4.0!
  • Two members of LulzSec have today pleaded guilty to hacking in a hope of reducing their jail time.
  • Microsoft has suggested that they decided to built their own Windows 8 tablet because of a reluctance of OEM's to make devices for them!
  • Latest iPhone prototypes are reported to be featuring NFC, something Apple will need to feature to catch up with Google's Android Operating System and to match Microsoft's plans for Windows Phone 8.
  • The Galaxy S3 is projected to hit 10million sales at some point in July! Less than 2 months after it went on sale!
  • Virgin Media have decided to best Three and T-Mobiles One and Full Monty plans with a ridiculously cheap deal which offers truly unlimited internet access from £21 ($33) per month. The new 'Virgin Media Premiere plan' also includes unlimited landline calls, unlimited text messages and 2,500 anytime minutes to mobile networks. But as always with Virgin you will have to be a current Virgin Media customer already to get that bargain price.
  • And finally, Google TV will be coming to the UK in the very near future!

Friday 22 June 2012


The Nintendo 3DS XL.

   Nintendo has officially announced the Nintendo 3DS XL. It's essentially the 3D version of what they did with the DS and naturally there's that bigger screen as well. And this new device is literally all about screen size!

  Nintendo’s normal 3DS has a 3.53-inch display up top and a 3.02-inch display down below, which the XL model bests with a pair of 4.88- and 4.18-inches respectively. Which naturally makes the whole device bigger, but you'll accept that for the extra screen real estate!

   This time around though, Nintendo has a bit of a change of plan when it comes to their target audience. With past XL versions they aimed them squarely at adults and slightly older users who wanted larger screens that didn't require you to squint or hold them a couple of inches from your face to see them. But now Nintendo has specifically said the 3DS XL is for anyone who wants “more real estate”. But you'll also find it useful if you use the device for Netflix or Nintendo Video streaming.

   Essentially you'll be buying this just for the screens. The 3DS XL will cost you $199.99 but we're not sure what that'll mean for people in the UK when the price gets the normal upward bump in translation from dollars to pounds.

The news in brief:

  • HTC has decided to shutter its business in Brazil, citing a lack of sales and as a results profitability in the country. This might be surprising to hear for most of us but outside of that country HTC has reiterated that nothing else will change!
  • Apple has rolled out a their App store to a further 32 countries today the full list includes a large variety of African and Asian countries, but there's a few unlikely European and South American Countries such as Albania and Ukraine in the mix too!
  • Motorola has promised a Q2 update to the Razr's and Razr Maxx's and today Verizon, at least, have made good on their promise. ICS will be available for download from today!!!
  • TiVo for Android has launched today for both Phones and Tablets!
  • Microsoft's Surface tablets will be Wifi only at launch. As if that makes any difference to your decisions to buy one!

Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8 release date and latest details

   The season of announcements continues and yes it has been a couple of days since Windows Phone 8 (previously known as Apollo) was officially revealed, but now we've had time to digest, consider and now we have a whole host of opinions on the new OS.

   Lets get the bad news out of the way first; Windows Phone 8 will not be compatible with current devices. They simply run a completely different sort of software, it would mean a complete recoding of the software to run on the current generation of processors. Sorry!

   But, if you have just bought a Lumia 900, then you will be getting an update to Windows Phone 7.8 which brings you the new home screen and a few other new features which are outlined below! Although, we will say that it is a bit of a kick in the teeth if you signed a brand new two-year contract. But, it teaches us all that we should buy what's on the plate now and not what we expect to come in future!

   But, lets start with what the revamped software will actually bring;

A unified Windows kernel.

   One huge change here is that the new kernel is taken from Windows as opposed to the current generations, which is from Windows CE. 

   It is worth noting that the new Windows Phone 8 is not the same as Windows 8 or even the ARM based Windows RT. Apps from the other two varieties of Windows 8 will not work on the new mobile OS. 

   One thing to bear in mind is that the new software won't be any more hacker-friendly so you'll have to stick to Android for that. Microsoft has said battery life and user experience are still the priorities and security is also paramount, which is highlighted by the fact that native applications run in a sandbox.

Windows Phone apps.

         All Windows Phone 7 apps will be able to run on Windows Phone 8 handsets; but developers will not have to decide whether to make an app that only works with Windows Phone 7 or one that works on both, there's also a choice to make one just for Windows Phone 8.

   This means new features like Wallet, VOIP, native code or being able to run navigation in the background, which gives us full multitasking!

   There are other advantages too, but with the interfaces to shares a lot more graphics, audio and sensor setting with Windows 8, something which makes it a lot easier to write Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps that share features.

The interface.

      This is one feature of Windows Phone that will come to the current generation of phones (in the aptly named Windows Phone 7.8 update) and it'll be a brand new Start screen. This will use all of the screen, because the sideways swipe arrow will be removed.

   The extra space will allow you to fit in more tiles, which now come in three different sizes. The new small size will act as a shortcut for any app, something which is particularly useful for apps that don't utilise the notifications.

   And as well as the current standard tile size, any app can use an extra-large tile size to cram even more details onto a single live tile. There will be a few new colour themes and both of these add up to a much more immersive and customisable experience.

   You should bear in mind that overall look of the platform won't be a huge departure from Windows Phone 7, you still get your list of apps with a side swipe, and you can still slide down to find more tiles that don't necessarily need to take centre stage.

The Browser and Security.

   Windows Phone 8 is set to inherit a few features from full Windows and they include Internet Explorer 10. This is set to come complete with the phishing filter and SmartScreen application which checks site reputations. Something which makes it harder for malicious websites to pinch your personal information and especially your credit card details.

   There hasn't yet been any issues with malware or any viruses on Windows Phone, but should the platform gain some traction they could potentially be faced with issues. So it's good to see security being prioritized from the off.

   Windows Phone also inherits other Windows security features such as disk encryption and secure boot something businesses and IT departments will cherish.

Media and Gaming.

      Everything shares the software with full blown Windows, in terms of audio, gaming and videos.   However, this means that the current crop of games will need to be recreated to take full advantage of the new platform. It will be possible for big companies to leave their games as Windows Phone 7 variants, but they'll probably want to re-release a more powerful version of the game too.

   The increase in GPU support and power will mean a boost in the amount of 3D-rich gaming that will be available to future Windows Phone 8 handsets, something which will be a huge advance over the current Windows Phone 7 games.

Skype Video Calling.

   Windows Phone at the moment is shaping to be a very powerful platform and the planned integration of Skype is a clear selling point, since Microsoft purchased the company last year. VOIP calls, on Windows Phone 8, will look just like regular phone calls with all the same features and notifications. Obviously this will be native for Skype but other VOIP apps will be offered the possibilities for similar notifications.

   We're still unsure as to how deep Skype integration will get into Windows Phone 8, but it should be deeply integrated given who owns the program.

   One thing to bear in mind is that Windows Phone manufacturers will have to prioritise front facing cameras unlike they do at the moment.

New CPU compatibility.

   To power the upgrades in Windows Phone 8 Microsoft has announced an increase in the amount and quality of the processors which will be supported. They are all still ARM processors and they will all be from the Snapdragon family at Qualcomm, but multicore processors, a new generation of GPUs and NFC support have been added this time.

   Battery life is still a huge priority for Microsoft so the company will probably cap any CPUs that get too comfortable with the batteries, but they have to realise that the simple mention of 'dual-core' and 'quad-core' sells phones! As such this move has come at a perfect time for Microsoft and this in itself should boost sales.

Microsoft Wallet.

   The new Microsoft Wallet app is essentially a culmination of the best of Google Wallet and  iOS 6's payment details storer. You can tap to pay and keep all your passwords and details in one place, so in theory this is a great solution.

   One good thing here is that you're not tied to using Microsoft's payment service. But, a standout feature is that applications will be able to tap into the Wallet system to set up new payment services and Paypal has already been lined up for this service.
   Finally, the app while act as a centre for receiving and using digital coupons and debit or credit cards, interestingly you can add in loyalty cards so you always get your bonuses too!

NFC support.

   NFC is not just there for Microsoft's Wallet, it also has uses in the secure SIM feature. Which essentially means users' can swap from handset to handset and take their payment method with them physically, so the chip is embedded in the SIM not the battery like the Samsung Galaxy S3 has opted for!

   There are other applications that Nokia is keen to utilise as well, such as being able to pair with its Bluetooth accessories with a simple tap of the phone – it's a trick we've seen on the old Symbian phones and one we expect to feature heavilytoo.

Speech recognition.

   Microsoft has teamed up with Audible for their answer to Siri and S-Voice! It'll work in a very similar way allowing you to issue a variety of commands to get your handset to do your dirty work.

   During the keynote presentation, Microsoft showed us the ability to play movies, browse audiobooks and perform searches from the speech platform.

   This tech is currently available for Mango devices at the moment. To test it out all you need to do is search Audible in the Marketplace.

Windows Phone 8 upgrades.

   Essentially none of the Windows Phone 7 devices will be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. The current generation of phone have neither the hardware to support the new features or deliver the multitasking performance that the Windows kernel and the improved VOIP support require! We know this sucks... BIG TIME!

   There will be a slight degree of flexibility in the software in that there will be a couple of new screen resolutions, both widescreen: 1280 by 768 and 1280 by 720. But you can of course choose the current 800 by 480, for those slightly lower end devices.

   And Windows Phone finally has SD card support!!!!!! (for both applications and storage!)

So when is Windows Phone 8 available?

   We're still waiting to get an official Windows Phone 8 launch date; all we know at the moment is it's due to land in the 'fall' or the autumn if you want that translated into English (:-P), which is such a broad time frame and could be any date from October to Christmas. That being said Microsoft will probably try to push it out in time for the late Autumn along with full Windows 8 and it will definitely be here before the vital christmas season!

      This all sounds pretty good so far and to top it off updates have been promised for 18 months and Microsoft is currently agreeing details with the operators and handset makers, but there's going to be a way to get updates directly from Microsoft and available Over-the-air (perhaps labelled as beta releases).

The handset manufacturers:

   So far we have heard from a few companies that they will be supporting the new OS and they are; Nokia, HTC, Samsung, and Huawei.

   Interestingly HTC's roadmap has either intentionally or unintentionally been leaked and the full details of each device run like this:

   The HTC Rio is the low-end of the family and will feature a 4-inch WVGA screen and come with a 5-megapixel camera capable of shooting 720p video. The Qualcomm MSM8227, part of the Snapdragon S4 family, is to power the device andwith 512MB of RAM.

   The HTC Accord is the mid-range device and comes with a 4.3-inch 720p Super LCD2 display and an 8-megapixel rear snapper capturing 1080p video. The exact silicon is currently unknown, but it will be a more capable dual-core processor from the Snapdragon S4 pen with 1GB of RAM.

   Finally and most excitingly HTC is creating the 'Zenith'. The Zenith is said to feature a massive 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD 2 display, also with an 8-megapixel camera and 42Mbps HSPA+. Here, though, the processor gets bumped up to a quad-core Snapdragon, but again - no specifics.

An overall opinion.

   Microsoft is finally adding the features that Windows Phone needs to succeed and providing the new hardware the platform vitally needs. It'd be a lot better if Microsoft could break from the 'big releases' to a more Apple-esque update system where there are frequent updates which add fixes and features as ad when they're ready.

    The problem of upgrades should, in theory, be fixed by the direct updates, something which will appeal to a lot of frustrated Android users!

   Windows Phone seems to be catching up with other smartphone systems on features but Microsoft and Nokia need to get phones into the hands of consumers by making well priced and attractive devices!

Wednesday 20 June 2012


The news in brief:

  • RIM's wholesale job cuts have started in earnest and all in all between 2000 and 6000 jobs are expected to go within the company.
  • Samsung has secured a win against Apple in The Hague, with the Dutch court ruling that older iPhones and iPads contravene a 3G patent held by the Korean company. This won't, however spark a sales ban but it will mean that Apple will have to pay a chunk of money as an apology, that's what you get for starting things Apple!
  • iPhone users get an official Google Offers app.
  • Google maps UK has added support for waterways as navigable routes, cue some funky jet skiing directions!

Tuesday 19 June 2012


Microsoft's big rumours were tablets!!!

   Late last night in Los Angeles, in the United States of America, something amazing happened... The rumours came true!!! Microsoft announced their new tablet range called Surface. 

   Yesterday we heard two new tablets coming; one was a 9.6mm tablet running on an Nvidia chip which powers Windows RT. The second one runs full Windows 8 Pro and the show is driven by a 22nm chip from Intel. This second one is slightly chunkier too at 13mm. The two tablets share 10.6" screens but the RT version runs at 1366 x 768 whereas the one on the other tablet will be a full HD screen.

   One particularly interesting feature is that keyboard you can see above is actually magnetic and comes in two varieties; one with tactile keys(!!!) and one that is just touch receptive but lacks feedback.

   All in all these are great tablets and if they can come in at a reasonable price Microsoft could have a pair of winners here, because these are very good looking tablets, but we will have to wait until fall to hear the full costing.

In other news:

  • Samsung's Galaxy S3 has had it's hardware hacked to allow wireless charging. Yes Samsung has promised an official solution but that won't be hitting until September. We strongly recommend you hold tight until the official version lands instead of risking your beautiful new phone!
  • LG has indicated it will be taking a back seat in the tablet market and they will instead be focusing on mobile phones.
  • Apple has announced it has an extra 2 years exclusivity with Liquidmetal. This will take the deal until February 2014!
  • The Nokia 808 Pureview is up for pre-order in the USA at a cost of $699.

Monday 18 June 2012

18/06/2012 and an apology.

   Hi guys! I would just like to start by saying that this week I am on holiday with my girlfriend and as such if I do post it will only be 'the news in brief' unless I have a tonne of free time! I'm away from now until Friday but I will do my best to post everyday!

The News in Brief.

  • Barnes and Noble have denied any involvement with Microsoft on the creation of a much rumoured Windows tablet. The involvement takes place this evening and if this does prove to be real it'll take centre stage on tomorrow's post!
  • Google has secured a bundle of wireless efficiency patents from Magnolia Broadband, covering network capacity maximization, battery frugality technology and more.
  • Qualcomm has purchased a battery charging company that has a particular specialism in Speed charging! So perhaps S5 chips and future smartphones will go from no juice to that satisfying fully charged beep in a matter of minutes! Well we can always hope!
  • Samsung has released a 'SAFE' branded version of the Galaxy S3. The device has support for AES-256 bit encryption, VPN and Mobile Device Management functionality, among other things.
   Of course the main news will be this Microsoft announcement this evening, keep it locked to TheTechFella for all the latest news!

Friday 15 June 2012


Microsoft preparing to launch their own tablet.

   Microsoft could be about to release their own branded tablet, a measure aimed to directly challenge Apple and rumoured Nexus tablets. 

   The Redmond-based software company has scheduled an event for Monday,and have promised a 'major' announcement, it's so special the company has said "you will not want to miss" it.

   The rumour comes straight from 'The Wrap' and at the moment we have absolutely no idea what the tablet will look like. The mock up above is what Cnet created by slapping a bit of Windows 8 onto the HP TouchPad, but we have no idea what it will look like if there is one released.

   On the software front we expect Windows 8 RT, which is the version of Windows 8 designed for ARM, would be a banker.

   It'd be great to see Microsoft acquire Nokia and make a tablet courtesy of them, using the amazing Polycarbonate casings they've been using on the Lumia 800 and 900.

   There's no doubt that if this does pan out as rumoured then Microsoft will undoubtedly be selling a good few of these tablets just by their brand name alone. If they can manage to make one that looks aesthetically pleasing then this really could be a potential challenger to the iPad and Android tablets.

   It'll be really interesting to see what happens because Microsoft has rumoured to have banned HTC from making Windows tablets, so lets see how they manage themselves.

In other news:

  • Motorola business solutions have purchased Psion, the rugged mobile producers for $200million. Unfortunately this is the part of Motorola that makes your phones, so we're not entirely sure what the company is using them for at the moment.
  • Apple and Motorola's spat has now gone as far as the judge asking them to prove the validity of each of their claims before they're consider in court, that's scheduled for the 20th of June, so we'll know how this round is going to be scored soon.
  • Batman 'the dark knight rises' is coming to Android and iOS this summer.
  • China is set to send the country's first female into space tomorrow!
  • The Ethiopian government has made it a crime to use any VOIP service from within the country. So Skype, Google talk and pretty much anything else that does the same thing is out of the question unless you fancy 15 years behind bars!
  • Apple has shown that in iOS6 you will have to give apps permission to access your contact book, in the same way you would in Android, as an extra bit of security.
  • Kinectimals for Android has been released!!!

Thursday 14 June 2012


Nokia and a few announcements:

   Nokia has today come out with a rather large amount of announcements for a non-earnings call event. 

    Firstly, we'll get the bad news out of the way; Nokia has announced they have plans to chop down around 10,000 jobs before the end of 2013. Factories in Germany, Finland, and Canada will take the main brunt of the lay-offs. The company plans to “sharpen its strategy” in a bid to turn a profit again! 

   This refocusing, involves the news we covered yesterday, that Vertu is destined to be sold to equity group EQP. There's also an option to utilise their large patent portfolio; “We have many valuable patent families [and] with the right price, we would sell.”

   The company has reportedly axed it's planned low-end smartphone OS, Meltemi. Now Nokia have refused to comment on the matter, but 'insiders' have said the company will simply just continue to use S40 to power the upcoming devices. Although, the R&D department is still expected to keep working on Windows 8 tablets, despite a slashing of their budget.

In other news:

  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has been delayed again. [update] We've just heard an official word from Samsung:

“The Note 10.1 is NOT available for pre-order, and in fact
we have not yet announced final details, timing or pricing for this
product. The information Amazon published is also not entirely
Samsung does appreciate all the interest and excitement about this
upcoming offering and we will have more details to share soon.”

  •  Samsung has categorically denied that they plan for their 'Family Story' project to become a rival to Facebook. They've merely reiterated that the system is designed to help with family life, but nothing much more speculative than that.
  • Opera and Chrome both plan to support Apple's new Retina Mac's.

Wednesday 13 June 2012


Samsung working on a Facebook competitor?

   Samsung is rumoured to be creating its own social network. A network designed specifically to tie in with existing devices and services. The new social network, which has been code named “Samsung Facebook”, has the mammoth expectation of becoming a competitor to Facebook over time. The network will be accessible on smartphones, cameras, and televisions. Samsung is looking to incorporate more social features into their arsenal something which would build on the well received ChatOn messaging service, which is available on all mobile operating systems at the moment.

   The Korea Times has said that Samsung will utilize a powerful cloud computing platform in order to make the service availability as widespread as possible. There's not an official name for this yet, but Samsung is currently making progress on its Family Story system, which hopefully will become the framework of this new platform. Family Story was first shown to us back at CES 2012; it's designed to share photos, reminders, memos and a whole host of other useful things via Samsung smartphones and televisions.

   Family Story is projected to be completed by the end of the year, with the service going live during the first quarter of 2013. The Korea Times said: “The eventual goal is to expand our social media service across different devices from different companies across different mobile platforms. That includes cameras, televisions and blue-ray [sic] players.” This could be a very exciting platform indeed!

The limited availability of iOS6.

   Apple had their brief little pop at Android mid-week about how many users have received the latest build of the OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, but Apple chose to omit that while iPhone 3GS and 4 owners will get a version of iOS 6, they won’t be able to use all the features, they would expect. In the companies finest small-print, on the iOS 6 preview page, Apple has revealed that FaceTime over cellular will only be available to the iPhone 4S and the new iPad, while 3GS owners will also have to make do without Shared Photo Streams.

   As well as these 'little details' it's been announced that the original iPad won’t be getting iOS 6 at all and will be stuck on iOS 5, while the iPad 2 won't get any Siri functionality, unlike the new iPad on iOS 6. Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation, features in Apple’s new Maps app, which replaces Google Maps in iOS, will be be available on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 and newer.

   The list of features the iPhone 3GS won't have is the most extensive; VIP list support, VIP/Flagged smart mailboxes, and Offline Reading List, on top of the previously mentioned features, are only on the iPhone 4 or later, and iPad 2 or later. Apple’s plans for Made for iPhone hearing aids will require the powers of the iPhone 4S. Sorry to be the one to burst the bubble but it's better to know sooner rather than later, right?

Three announces EU Roaming deal to beat them all!

   One of the newest and most forward thinking UK mobile carriers, Three, has taken it upon themselves to challenge to extortionate data roaming charges that people have become wise to when travelling abroad. 

   Their solution is the new Euro Internet Pass. A service which offers unlimited data in most EU countries for £5 ($8) a day. The new add-on will support most of the popular European holiday destinations, such as France, Germany, Greece and Spain. The only slight downside here is that that tethering isn't included in the deal, but the company has said that “The pass was designed for browsing, so streaming may not be as good as it is on our UK network, and, tethering isn’t included.” 

   There's also been warnings that set-up may be a bit of a pain for first-time users, it'll require a combination of turning on data roaming but (initially) turning off push notifications so you can avoid charges until the day-pass realises it has started:

   “To activate the pass, firstly make sure data roaming is enabled. You’ll then also need to turn off your push notifications  (they’re the things that tell you stuff like when you’ve got an email, when it’s your turn in a game or when someone’s tagged a pic of you). They need turning off to avoid out of bundle charges while you’re setting up the pass. How to do it differs from phone to phone, so make sure you’ve worked out how to sort it before you go away. Then just click on the link in the SMS. Follow the simple steps to buy the pass and then you can go wild online until midnight that day (UK time)” 

   A full list of supported countries (and principalities) is below:

 Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Balearic & Canary Islands), Sweden, Vatican City and Monaco.

    Not supported:

Aaland Islands, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Cyprus (North), Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Georgia, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Martinique, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Reunion, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey, Netherlands Antilles and the Rest of the World.

In other news:

  • Nintendo are reportedly working on a Nintendo 3DS successor!
  • Nokia are again trying to sell their luxury brand Vertu, this time it looks like they have a buyer and we'll keep you updated as to whether they manage to complete this deal.
  • Apple's new Retina displays (2880x1800 pixels, 220PPI) for their laptops cost $150 each so that's one of the reasons the Macbook Pro's have shot up in price.
  • AMD have licensed ARM's Cortex A5 technology to enhance their security on x86 based architecture.
  • It's been reported that Microsoft is charging $85 for each Windows RT license, which'll make most Windows tablets inaccessible.
  • Sony have announced two new phones today; The Xperia Miro and the Xperia Tipo. The later of which is a dual sim phone, whereas the former is a mid-range phone. Click on the name of each phone for a full information list.
  • Windows Phone 8 is rumoured to have Skype integration and the inclusion of a whole host of Nokia exclusive apps such as their mapping technology. Keep it locked to TheTechFella for all the latest news.

Tuesday 12 June 2012


The news in brief!

  • Apple has opened the iOS 6 Beta to everyone now. You can get it here.
  • Spotify for Android has been updated with a new, faster interface.
  • Sainsbury’s UK has purchased 64% of e-book company Anobii from HMV. Now we know this is an insanely good deal for Sainsbury's but there's wide held suspicion that they've assumed some sort of debt here as well, so it's not quite the steal it looks like it is on paper.
  • Seton Hall University in the USA has started giving their 'freshers' a complimentary Nokia Lumia 900. The phone comes with a bunch of apps pre-installed that help the newcomers get around campus and connect to their learning resources!
  • Samsung has pushed out its first update to it's Galaxy S3's. The update brings simple 'Stability improvements'. The update is available now OTA via Wifi or 3G, it's a 31.17MB download.
  • Apple and TomTom have signed a Maps deal for the forthcoming iOS 6 Maps and TomTom will power the operation.
  • US Department of Justice has announced that they are not keen on returning MegaUpload data to innocent customers. Good way to annoy people US government!


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