Apple iPad Tablet: Sony and Nintendo reactions

It appears that in the wake of Apple’s big announcement when it unveiled its new iPad tablet PC, that people have been giving their responses and reactions. And according to a report at, Sony and Nintendo are to name a couple.
Yesterday, it was Nintendo president Satoru Iwata that gave his reaction to last week’s announcement by Apple. And it appears that he wasn’t too stoked on it, saying that “It was a bigger iPod Touch.” He went on to say that it offered “no surprises.”
Sony on the other hand, expressed a lot of optimism and happiness about the new iPad tablet. Sony’s John Koller, who is Director of Hardware Marketing, said that Apple’s entrance into the portable gaming space had been a net positive for Sony.
He then went on to say that when people want a deeper, richer console, then they start playing on the PSP (PlayStation Portable). But that is not necessarily the case, as people don’t appear to be coming to the PSP for a deeper, richer console.

Apple opens gates to VoIP on 3G – Free voice calls for everyone!

Free voice calls, that is, as long as you have an iPhone 3G and a VoIP app that lets you make internet voice calls over the 3G wireless data network. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has apparently done an about face on their policy that prohibited VoIP apps from using a carrier’s wireless network to make free voice calls. Following AT&T (NYSE: T)’s decision to allow VoIP on its 3G network, Apple has opened the doors to a whole new world of VoIP calling, where iPhone users can make no-cost calls to other VoIP users from anywhere they please (as long as they have a decently strong signal). The implications of the move are huge – AT&T risks losing revenue from its wireless voice business if customers wholesale adopt 3G VoIP calling. For the customer, though, it doesn’t get any better than this.
VoIP iPhone apps, like fring, have been available for a while. But, their usefulness was previously limited to WiFi networks (unless you had a jailbroken iPhone, of course). You could make free phone calls from your iPhone’s fring app, but only if you had a WiFi connection handy. Today, that all changes. fring has announced that it’s iPhone app is now completely functional over a AT&T’s 3G network. That means fring users can make free voice and video calls to other fring users, Skype, GoogleTalk and MSN on both WiFi and 3G networks!
“fring users and our team alike are very excited that Apple Inc. have allowed independent iPhone VoIP applications over 3G networks, letting users make voice and video calls over whichever internet access suits their needs at any given place and time,” said Avi Shechter, Co-Founder & CEO of fring in a statement released today.
Now that VoIP is officially allowed on AT&T’s 3G network, will we see more iPhone users adopting VoIP apps as their voice call method of choice? That could hurt AT&T’s bottom line in the long run, while putting additional stress on their network. With the iPad expected to bring even more pain to AT&T’s data network later this year, things should get interesting for Big Blue.

Sonic Boom: iPod Surgery: Prince, Miley Cyrus And More


In last week’s installment of my regular “Sonic Boom” feature, I noted that my trusty 120 GB iPod was housing a total of 16,191 songs (and the first season of FX television drama Sons of Anarchy). Remarkable, no? That such a small device can be home to such a wealth of recorded material? I certainly think so. In fact, after writing that piece, I spent some time marveling over this exact fact. And then, I went home to add more fuel to the fire: I had 10 or so new albums in my possession that I was eager to get onto my iPod, so that I could add them to my playlists and thus, my daily rotation.
But when I got home, and attempted to load onto my iPod those 10 or so albums, I was met with the following message:
“There is not enough room on Michael Patrick Nelson’s iPod to copy all the requested files.”
This has happened to me before, of course. It means I’ve run out of space for new music, so I’ve got to cut ties with some of the old stuff. Understand, this is terribly difficult for me—I’m not one for goodbyes. So I’m forced to make some tough decisions, and for me, the best way to begin making those decisions is to take a good hard look at my library, at what I listen to and what I don’t. And today, as I look at that library, I realize that I have plenty of fat to trim, plenty of choices to make, plenty of albums under consideration for deletion from my iPod. But let’s talk through that decision-making process, shall we, lest we make any rash moves?
Prince—N.E.W.S (2003)
You may not be aware of this but Prince has released a lot of albums. A lot of albums. I, though, am aware of this because (A) I am something of a fan of popular music, and (B) I spent a solid week earlier this year loading every single Prince album onto my then-new iPod. Here’s something else about which you might not be aware: Speaking strictly in terms of artistic quality, not every Prince album is on the same level as, say, Purple Rain or Dirty Mind. Now, don’t get me wrong—those are great records, so that’s a high bar. But, honestly, some of his recent work is really quite a few notches below. Take, for instance, 2003’s N.E.W.S—which comprises four 14-minute tracks of instrumental jazz/fusion/funk. It’s quite unlistenable, if I’m speaking frankly. HOWEVER, I have certain OCD tendencies, and for me, the idea of removing a single Prince album from a complete catalog would be slightly nauseating, so for now it is: SAFE.
Carolina Liar—Coming to Terms (2008)
Have you heard of Carolina Liar? Perhaps you have. I am under the impression that they may be quite well known. I, though, know them for exactly one reason: because Swedish songwriter Max Martin “big-upped” them in a 2008 interview, and he was one of the producers of their debut album, Coming to Terms, and I am a great fan of Martin’s work. (You know Max Martin, even if you don’t: He wrote “Since U Been Gone” and “I Want it That Way” and “…Baby One More Time” and pretty much every other song that has cracked the Billboard Top 40 over the last decade.) Anyway, because I trust Max Martin, I loaded Coming to Terms on to my iPod, but I must admit, it’s not my cup of tea, and I haven’t listened to the whole thing through even once. HOWEVER, I’m confident enough in my own understanding of music to recognize that Max Martin knows a lot more than I do, so I’m hesitant to delete an album he so enthusiastically recommended (even if he does have a financial stake in the album’s success), so until I give it at least one more chance (something I’m not eager to do anytime soon) it is: SAFE.
Grant Green—Retrospective 1961-66 (2002)
No, no, not Graham Greene—author of such classic novels as Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair and Our Man in Havana—this is Grant Green, the great jazz guitarist! Um, assuming you had confused the two. Which you probably hadn’t. I have several of Green’s LPs on my iPod—including such standouts as Green Street, Oleo, The Matador and Idle Moments—but I also have this four-disc set, which comprises much of the work Green did for the Blue Note recording label between the years of 1961 and 1966. (NB: Green’s recording career extended to 1978.) Now, I don’t listen to Grant Green all the time—I mean, I listen to him maybe once a year or so—so I don’t really need a lot of Grant Green on my iPod, and I certainly don’t need to devote this much space to this one period of Green’s career. HOWEVER, I’m mildly intimidated by jazz snobs, so rather than incur their disdain and disapproval (and yes, I am aware that I don’t really hang around too many jazz snobs, so the only way they might know about this transgression is to read about it right here, but that’s beside the point now, isn’t it?), this is: SAFE.
Miley Cyrus—The Time of Our Lives EP (2009)
I will admit with neither shame nor guilt that I love the song “See You Again” by Miley Cyrus, featured on the 2007 album Meet Miley Cyrus, which is also known as the second disc of the two-CD collection Hannah Montana 2. I should also note, though, that every other song on both those discs is utterly without value. Still, I decided I would give a listen to Ms. Montana/Cyrus’ The Time of Our Lives EP, hoping for another “See You Again,” and also because the lead single from said EP, “Party in the USA,” is a catchy-enough little number (which, as it happens, is co-written by Max Martin’s songwriting partner Dr. Luke, assuming that means anything to anyone but me). HOWEVER, “Party in the USA” is frankly rather cloying, and nothing else on The Time of Our Lives is even at that level, so it is: DELETED.
Wow! It seems I have managed to delete…seven songs and clear and additional 30 MB of space! Would you look at that? And now I may begin filling my iPod again—slowly, lightly, song by song, until once again I have reached my cap, my breaking point, my limit in this ever-expanding infinite universe.

Five ways the Apple iTablet could change our lives


It will make us fall in love with the printed word again: Some industry experts believe the launch of the iTablet could represent an "iPod moment" for books, newspapers and magazines; in the same way the iPod changed the way we consumed music, so too could the iTablet reinvigorate our interest in periodicals and novels by presenting content in new rich and exciting ways. For instance, the day's papers could be wirelessly delivered to the iTablet, complete with live discussion forums or social network integration to debate the key topics of the days, while embedded video and audio would bring stories to life; you could download archive magazines to the device, or view the latest articles, fashion tips and features in a digital format that has the same glossy feel of the magazine pages; and before settling down to read the next blockbuster instalment from your favourite author, you could watch an interview, or access interactive content along the way, akin to the "director's commentary" on DVD. All this will come at a price, of course, but news junkies will be hooked.
It will simplify the home entertainment experience: iTunes will be at the heart of the new tablet. The software – which allows people to manage their music collection, buy songs, and watch movies and TV shows – will help to make the iTablet a compelling entertainment device. Indeed, the tablet might even replace Apple TV, and have the necessary plugs and ports to connect to a television, bringing all of these media services to the big screen. Apple's recent acquisition of music-streaming service Lala also suggests the tablet might be the first device to offer Spotify-esque music streaming and subscription services through the iTunes store. And the tablet could also be used as a streaming hub, managing music and movie collections and wirelessly "beaming" this content to other compatible devices within the home.
It will introduce new ways of interacting with the world around us: Augmented reality – where real-world images are overlaid with data and information –is set to be huge in 2010, and the tablet could be one of the key drivers behind this technology going mainstream. The tablet's large screen makes it ideal for really clever augmented reality apps; a price comparison site, for example, could release an app that allows shoppers to hold their tablet up in front of shelves of DVDs, books or the latest gadgets, and find the cheapest place to buy that item, as well as comprehensive reviews. The tablet will, of course, need a camera for this to work, and opinions are divided as to whether the device will feature a camera.
It will be a whole new gaming platform: Apple has invited video games journalist to its event on Wednesday, a clear sign that the iTablet will be more than simply a productivity tool. The huge success enjoyed by games on the iPhone and iPod touch caught Apple by surprise, but it will be a different story with the tablet. From the outset, Apple has been working with the likes of EA to develop content for the platform. The key selling point is the large touch-screen, which will likely be able to process input from fingers and hands touching the screen simultaneously, opening up the possibility of even greater control over characters, vehicles and other elements in video games. Music games, in particular, could benefit hugely from this development, and Ge Wang, co-founder of Smule, the company behind Ocarina, is said to be excited by the possibilities.
It will be the rising tide that lifts all boats: The Apple iTablet is could cost somewhere between £800 to £1,000 when it goes on sale – out of reach for many cash-strapped consumers. But the good news is that other consumer electronics manufacturers will be paying close attention to what Apple unveils on Wednesday. Where Apple innovates, others follow, and so some of the tablet's best ideas and coolest features will eventually be found in one form or another in other tablet devices in the coming months. Much as the launch of the iPhone forced phone companies to think harder about design and usability, it also bought about the app revolution, which dozens of handset makers and network operators are desperate to cash in on. Likewise, expect the tablet to force rival computer makers to buck up their ideas, and work a little harder to win over consumers.

Reliance Communications to bring cartoons on your mobile

Mobile operators are all out to woo their customers with Value Added Services. Reliance Communications has announced a tie up with Cartoon Network. Very soon you will be able to browse your favorite cartoons on Reliance mobile phones.
This service has been announced by the Reliance GSM. The subscription price is just Rs1 per day. You can explore popular cartoons from the Cartoon Network like the Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory. The comics will contain Visuals on one part of the screen and text on the other half.
Reliance Communications believes in providing subscribers with the most exciting services. With the launch of Comics on Mobiles service, subscribers can now be transported to the imaginary world of comics by merely pressing a button. This unique offering caters to the constantly changing needs of our subscribers and ensures that they don’t miss out on entertainment when they are on the move.” Mr. Krishna Durbha, Head – VAS, Reliance Communications said on the occasion.

New Samsung Genio slide launches on Vodafone


Samsung has announced the launch of the Genio slide, a new addition to the Genio range, available in the UK from Vodafone. A Vodafone exclusive for a month, like the other Genios, the Genio slide is aimed at the youth market.
The Genio slide gets a slide out QWERTY keyboard as well as a full 2.8-inch touchscreen, a 3-megapixel digital camera, Wi-Fi, HSDPA 3G, GPS and a 3.5mm audio jack. Other specs include an FM radio and a microSD card slot supporting up to 16GB cards.
A feature that will no doubt prove popular is the device's iPlayer compatibility, and there's also social networking access to the likes of Twitter and Facebook.
The handset is available now, free on a 2-year, £15 a month plan as well as a £25 per month, 18-month plan.

Apple and Microsoft in talks over iPhone search

Apple and Microsoft are in talks to make Microsoft’s Bing the default search engine on the iPhone instead of Google, BusinessWeek reported on Wednesday.
If a deal can be reached it would mark arguably Microsoft’s biggest ever coup in its battle against Google. The move would mean that millions of iPhone users would automatically get Bing as their main search engine, giving Microsoft the cachet of powering search on the trend-setting device.
The report underscores the growing rivalry between Apple and Google, which were once close Silicon Valley allies in their joint rivalry with Microsoft but have since found themselves in fierce competition in the smartphone arena where Google’s Android operating system is seen as a major challenger to the iPhone.
Any Apple-Microsoft deal is likely to be temporary however, the report said. Quoting a “person familiar with Apple’s thinking” BusinessWeek said that Apple is working on its own search offering and given the centrality of search and its tie to mobile advertising, “Apple isn’t going to outsource the future.”

Oh, One More Thing: The iPhone 4G–On Verizon

Though the debut of Apple’s mythical tablet at the company’s invitation-only special event next week and the rapture with which it will inevitably be met obviate the need for a closing “one more thing” announcement, Apple (AAPL) may deliver one anyway. Three, actually.
iPhone OS 4.0. And the iPhone 4G–on Verizon (VZ).
That’s the word from Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek, who believes there’s “a good chance” we’ll hear about all three come next Wednesday.
“Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June,” Misek wrote in a note to clients today.
“The phone will be carried on Verizon and hence will operate on the CDMA network,” he asserts, adding, “however, it will also support European GSM and HSPA standards. An updated 4GS version that will support LTE is anticipated to arrive in June 2011.”
As to the cost, the analyst expects change. “At this moment, we have not heard about the pricing of the device, but believe it will be different from what it is at the moment. While we remain of the view that tiered data plans are imminent, our checks indicate the new iPhone from Verizon will still come with an unlimited data plan.”
Now, I have no idea how much credence to give speculation like this, nor do I have any insider insight into Apple’s carrier negotiations. But I will say this: It seems unlikely that Apple will announce a new iPhone and carrier partnership right after unveiling a brand new, and presumably revolutionary, product.
It might do so before, though. After all, the debut of the iPhone at Macworld 2007 was prefaced by the announcement of Apple TV.

Carphone: Battle To Beat iPhone To Hot Up

Carphone Warehouse is predicting an exciting year for smartphone technology as rival firms try to catch the runaway success of the Apple iPhone.
The retailer reported that Nokia was "back with a vengeance" as the Finnish company's Illuvial phone helped it to a 6.3% rise in like-for-like sales in the third quarter.
Carphone's finance chief Roger Taylor said iPhones led the way as smartphones, including LG's BL40 Chocolate phone and Research in Motion's Blackberry, sold well over Christmas.
Cheaper SIM-only deals, which surged in popularity at the start of the recession, did not prove as attractive.
Mr Taylor said: "There's no doubt that iPhone has set the bar and everyone is going hell for leather to jump over it.
"The good news is no one can stand still, not even Apple. It's quite an exciting pipeline for the year ahead."

Mr Taylor added that the strong demand for high-technology phones was good news for Carphone because there are bigger profits to be made on handset deals.
His comments came with technology blogs abuzz with rumours that Apple is preparing for the launch of iPhone 4.0 software.
That speculation was ramped up when the US firm invited reporters to an event on January 27 - ostensibly to introduce its eagerly-anticipated tablet computer.
Carphone Warehouse, which is looking to spin off its TalkTalk business in March, also added another 36,000 broadband customers in the third quarter.
It attributed its success to its official sponsorship of ITV's hit show X-Factor, while it was also boosted by its takeover of Tiscali's UK operations.
The surge in both its retail and broadband business led Carphone to increase its full-year forecasts for the second time in two months.

Samsung Metro 5200 Slider phone for India


Samsung has launched a new phone in India, which surprisingly is not from the Corby series. They’ve launched the Metro 5200, a 10.9mm slider phone that does not have anything spectacular on offer except for its 3.2MP camera with LED flash and face detection feature. Other things include quad-band GSM support, a 2.1-inch 16M (240×320) color screen, FM Radio with RDS, music player, 50MB internal memory with microSD card slot (up to 8GB, 1GB bundled), Fake Call, office docs support and 800mAh battery with talk time of up to 5 hours.
It will sell in India for an affordable Rs. 7,439.Read More....

Searching for new apps? Chomp for Apple's iPhone helps you find them - and a whole lot more


Let's face it: Of the more than 100,000 iPhone apps out there to choose from, only a small percentage will be right for you. The process of tracking down the ones you want is part of the fun, but if you find yourself adrift as you surf the App Store and need some extra guidance, well, there's now an app for that.
GRAB IT: Chomp (free), which debuted Monday, is to iPhone apps what the Genius button is to your music library, using information about your likes and dislikes to make recommendations - and it even tosses social networking into the mix.
Once you've created a Chomp account, it asks you to start reviewing your favorite (and least favorite) apps. The process is a breeze: Simply click a heart icon for "like" and a broken heart icon for "dislike." There's also an option to add a short review, of 60 characters or fewer, if you feel a need to opine further.
We started off with a quick review of two or three of our favorite iPhone games, and immediately the app pointed out a few others we might enjoy. (Warning: Be prepared to spend some money on new software!) Chomp even suggested a few we already know and love but hadn't reviewed yet - so we know it works.
That ability alone - not to mention its sleek, easy-to-use interface - makes Chomp a winner. What's more, the app has a Twitter-inspired twist that really gives it an edge, allowing you to browse a live stream of reviews from other users and interact with them. Not only can you follow your fellow Chompers and browse their reviews, but there's even a section where you can track the reviews of "App Celebrities" including Digg founder Kevin Rose and video blogger Justine Ezarik, making it easier than ever to keep up with the geeks. [iTunes link]
SKIP IT: iDrag­Paper Free: Prefer to get your app recommendations from the iTunes best-seller list? You might want to rethink that. As we write this, iDragPaper Free - a game that tests your ability to quickly unfurl a roll of toilet paper - is Apple's top-ranked free app. For 99 cents, the paid version adds online leaderboards.

iPhone OS 4.0 Coming Soon? [App Developer Suggests iPhone OS 4.0 Imminent Arrival]

More proof points to the fact that the iPhone OS 4.0 is coming soon. Rumored to be unveiled on January 26/27, during the Apple tablet-dedicated event, the upcoming iPhone OS has apparently been confirmed by a “prominent app developer.”
The rumored email from said developer basically said that their application has been updated for the new iPhone OS 4.0 software. As always with these kinds of news it might all be just too good to be true. But then again, Apple hasn’t issued a software update for a while now.
Other rumors say that Apple has refrained from updating the iPhone OS in order not to reveal details about the upcoming iSlate tablet. That should prove again that the tablet is basically an iPhone on steroids which could potentially run on an iPhone OS version.
Last year we told you how some app developers have been asked by Apple to make full-screen versions of their apps which would be ready to run on the tablet. While those rumors haven’t been proved, when looking at the whole picture everything seems to get more meaning.
Basically we can expect Apple to roll out its tablet at the end of the month and also launch iPhone OS 4.0 at the same time. Once the tablet and the new mobile software version are out we might find more details about the upcoming iPhone.
The phone itself is not out just yet and I don’t think it will arrive earlier than July. While certain carriers do say that an early April launch of the iPhone 4G is possible, I think it’s highly unlikely for that to happen. Apple is probably waiting for everything to fall into place according to its own needs before launching the new phone. One of the main arguments against an early iPhone launch would be the AT&T exclusivity deal. Apparently Apple is waiting for it to expire before revealing the new iPhone to the public.
So there you have it, folks, while iPhone 4.0 OS might be coming in the following weeks together with the tablet, the iPhone 4G will only land later this summer.Read More.....

Nokia Supreme – The $160,000 Mobile Phone

We have seen a few of Stuart Hughes’s creations before on Geeky Gadgets, like the Gold Nintendo Wii, and the $3.2 Million iPhone 3GS, his latest creation is slightly more affordable than previous models the Nokia Supreme.
Stuart Hughes has taken a Nokia 8800 and covered it in platinum and diamonds, with a total of 1,225 gems on the Nokia Supreme’s case.
It comes with 12.5 carats of pink diamonds, a 3 carat diamond for its navigation button, and a total of 83 grams of platinum.
As usual the Nokia Supreme will be made in a limited number, and only three will be made available, it will go on sale for $160,000, what a bargain I think I might order three of them.Read more.......

Is Google's Nexus One phone any good?


At first glance, the Nexus One doesn't look like a revolution waiting to happen. In fact, Google's much heralded rival to the Apple iPhone looks remarkably similar to almost every high-end mobile phone released in the last two years: big black screen with small button at the bottom. But as soon as you switch on the handset and swipe your finger across the screen to unlock it, it is clear this is more than just another also-ran.
The first thing that strikes you is how incredibly bright and clear the screen is. It's a 3.7in, low-power, "organic LED" screen that doesn't need backlighting and allows deep, clear blacks and vivid colours. In terms of visibility, it's streets ahead of the competition: a gang of Nexus One users waving their prized gadgets in the air could probably send a signal into space.
The second thing that leaps at your eyeballs is the animated background. Whether you've got rippling pools of water or computerised lights zipping around the screen, the constant movement whenever you're using the phone breathes a strange sort of life into this static object.
Above all, though, you are stepping through a portal into Google's world. On first use, the phone prompts you to log into your Google account – within seconds it has synchronised your email, web searches, contacts book and any other information you happen to keep with the company. Convenient for you, but also – thanks to the constant stream of data being fed back to California – handy for Google. You're now a satellite-tracked, walking, talking, web-surfing recruit into Google's informationalised army.
Despite this nagging feeling that you've stepped into the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four, becoming one of Google's disciples boasts some impressive benefits. Browsing the web is fast, the powerful five-megapixel camera-phone with built-in flash should make the all-important business of taking good photos a doddle. The really futuristic extra, though, is "voice search". On other handsets, including the iPhone, this addition seems like a gimmick – hey, what kind of dimwit talks to their phone? – but the accuracy and speed of the Nexus One makes it feels like something from Star Trek. I asked for "toy shops in San Francisco" and it found me a (Google) map of local toy shops in a couple of seconds. Combine this with the phone's simplified "in-car mode" display and ability to speak turn-by-turn directions, and it spells goodbye to satnav.
The downsides are its appearance – sleek but bland, made from a dull, metallic-looking plastic – and the small, rubber trackball that sits under your thumb, which feels like an awkward afterthought (although it does glow in different colours to let you know when the phone is charging or connected via Bluetooth).
But a big "miss" is the feature that makes the iPhone so simple to use: multi-touch. While the Nexus One's single-finger prodding works well enough, there's none of the pinching action to zoom into maps and photographs that makes the iPhone feel so advanced, nor its realistic-feel friction. Google's on-screen keyboard feels cramped, too, and won't completely satisfy text freaks and heavy emailers.
Also missing is the depth of downloadable applications that have turned the iPhone into something much more like a mini-computer. There are plenty of programs available through the Android Market (and Google is, of course, encouraging armies of coders to feverishly build more), but there is still nowhere near the volume you can get for Apple's gizmo.
Then, of course, there's the price. Salivating British gadget fans can buy one now from Google's US shop – without a sim card or contract – for £330, and Vodafone is scrambling to make it available on a contract here for significantly less. But even then, it's unlikely to come cheap.
What ultimately justifies the price, Google argues, is the phone's sheer power. And the thing certainly is fast, with the memory and processing guts equivalent to a top-of-the-range laptop from eight or nine years ago.
But will it beat the iPhone? This debut model falls short of the smooth and totally intuitive design that Apple came up with. Google prides itself on being a company of engineers, and – despite all its bells and whistles – the Nexus One still leaves behind an aftertaste of nerdiness.Read More.....

Home entertainment celebrates end of crisis in Las Vegas


Manufacturers of consumer electronics gathered at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week are exhaling.
To them it appears the worst of the crisis is over. Sales in the just-ended Christmas season were better than expected, and new technological developments have helped maintain the consumers’ mood to buy. There’s hardly a trace of the economic crisis noticeable at the trade show, the largest in the US for consumer electronics.
Putting two dreadful years behind them, visitors as well as exhibitors are reveling in optimism. Spurring it on are new products such as internet-ready television sets, new functions in home entertainment and most important, 3D television.
“There is now light at the end of the tunnel and it is the bright light of innovation,” said Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, in a speech at the CES. “We are seeing more innovation at this show than at any show in our history.” The association puts the number of new developments featured at the show at 20,000.
The consumer electronics industry still feels the horrors of 2008 and 2009 deep in its bones. The television branch, spoiled by success, was also affected during the difficult years. Shapiro said, adding that “2009 was the most challenging year of our lives” and no one wants to see it repeated. The consumer electronics industry has come back from the brink, he said, and he predicted slight revenue growth in 2010.
Carrying the most hope to lead the rebound is 3D television. The television market is responsible for 60 per cent of revenue in the consumer electronic branch. While US broadcasters are in the starting blocks for the production of 3D content, it could take longer to arrive in other countries such as Germany. Television networks must invest in the equipment needed to film in 3D.
Nevertheless, industry officials such as Ralf Hansen, a spokesman for Panasonic, know that in order to maintain sales figures — 8 million televisions are sold annually in Germany alone - new technology and new experiences for the consumer have to come on line.
Some 3D titles will make it into the German market this year in Blu- ray.
Concern over consumer acceptance of the need to wear special glasses while watching television is gone. The first 3D blockbuster in cinemas - Avatar, which used a revolutionary new 3D technology - has diffused the doubt and cash registers are ringing. The Korean manufacturer Samsung determined after extensive market research that 80 per cent of theatre-goers that have seen a 3D movie were so excited that they wanted 3D at home.
Sony chief executive Howard Stringer said in addition to Hollywood productions, there will be major sporting events and festivals and concerts broadcast in 3D. One of the first could be the upcoming World Cup. Sony is cooperating with the US sports channel ESPN on the broadcast of the football championship to be held this year in South Africa.
Another development in 3D in the home is the availability of numerous new television sets that are able to convert two-dimensional films into 3D in real time. Toshiba’s top model, for example, is equipped with a high-performance processor. This should make the conversion to 3D as well as other multimedia applications such as internet telephony and video conferencing through a television set possible.
Toshiba, Sony and IBM have developed a processor - Cell ZX900 - that is especially designed for this task. It makes the television into a powerful machine with 10 times the computer performance of a PC. Josh Silverman, chief executive of Skype, a free internet telephone service, said 2010 will be the year when “the television moved from the centre of entertainment in the home to the centre of entertainment and communication in the home.” The rapid metamorphosis of the good old television set into a high performance computer has the television branch claiming success in holding on to TV’s place in the centre of the living room. This could mean the long-held ambitions of the IT industry to put the PC at the centre of home entertainment will be written into history.
Panasonic’s Hansen said the industry has too much experience at home entertainment to let itself be displaced. The only IT industry player that has had the stuff to pose a threat has been Apple.Read More.......

Wireless industry in flux as Google steps in

SAN FRANCISCO/LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The smoke has finally cleared on Google Inc's highly anticipated Nexus One smartphone, but the ramifications of the Internet company's new role as a mobile phone vendor are still hazy.
For established wireless companies, Google represents a new heavyweight jumping into the ring. And in bypassing the wireless carriers to sell phones directly to consumers, the No. 1 Web search company isn't playing by the usual rules.
That doesn't bode well for the carriers, such as AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, which control the sale of phones through storefronts scattered across the United States.
But for all Google's might on the Internet, analysts don't see it upending the wireless business model in the near term, saying the company must tread carefully so as not to upset the business partners of its Android mobile operating software.
"They need the carrier partners and the handset partners to push Android forward. It's kind of a fine line they have to walk," Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Clement said. "They can't really step on the feet of the partners who will ultimately make Android."
"The carriers have made a big investment in their own retail presence," he added. "There are better economics for them to manage subscribers through their own channels."
Google released the sleek, touchscreen Nexus One phone on Tuesday, the first of many devices that it plans to sell directly online to consumers. Motorola Inc told Reuters on Wednesday that it also plans to make a phone, possibly carrying the Motorola brand, for Google's direct sales channel.
These moves come two years after Google announced plans to develop Android, which is used on more than 20 devices.
Google's real goal may not necessarily be to become a consumer electronics vendor and compete with the likes of Apple Inc, some analysts say.
Instead, Google wants to spur the adoption of Android to help ensure that its online services continue to get prominent placement on the new generation of Web-enabled mobile devices.
"I don't think this is about Google looking to change the way cellphones are bought and sold," said Jefferies & Co analyst Youssef Squali. "If that changes, then so be it, but it will be a by-product of Google trying to get phones into people's hands."
The Nexus One has garnered positive reviews, though analysts say its overall design and price are not as revolutionary as might have been expected.
Thus, they do not expect Google to wield as much industry clout as Apple, for example.
Analysts say they do not expect Apple to follow suit with an unlocked version of the iPhone in the United States, as the price of the device sold without a carrier contract would be too high to appeal to consumers. Many have leveled the same criticism at the $529, unlocked version of the Nexus One.
Google has said that it expects to bring prices down by selling the device directly to consumers.
But Philip Cusick, an analyst with Macquarie Research, said the exclusive online sales channel could limit the phone's appeal to the mass market, since many consumers like to touch and feel a device before buying it.
Some analysts had speculated that Google could offer its own wireless service by becoming a virtual network operator and resell the carriers' airwaves, but that business model has not proved successful for many companies that have tried it.
Wireless carriers are ever-vigilant about being cut out of the picture, and reduced to the role of playing a "dumb pipe," but they likely will view innovation from players like Google more as an opportunity to bolster wireless data revenue than a threat, Cusick said.
"Right now you've got a situation where the carriers don't want to crimp what's becoming a really interesting mobile data world," Cusick said.
So far, wireless industry incumbents aren't panicking. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless are both supporting Google's efforts.
"It doesn't take anything away from the carriers," said Glenn Lurie, the AT&T executive in charge of emerging devices, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
AT&T announced on Wednesday that it would offer five Android-based handsets in 2010 from vendors including Motorola and HTC.
A Samsung Electronics Co spokesman said the company had no intention of backing off plans to offer additional phone models featuring Android software in 2010, even though Google's Nexus One is now a competitor.Read More.....

Reminder – Download Our Free Geeky Gadgets iPhone App

It is a week since we launched our free Geeky Gadgets iPhone App, and it has been a great success so far with over 1,000 downloads, so this is just a quick reminder to the rest of our readers who haven’t tried it out yet.Our free iPhone App delivers the latest gadgets and technology news direct to your iPhone, now you will be able to keep up with the latest offerings from Geeky Gadgets wherever you are.One feature I forgot to mention in the last post is that you can cache all our stories on the Geeky Gadgets iPhone App, so you can still read them when you are offline.The Geeky Gadgets iPhone App is free and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store at the following link.
If you download the App, and get a chance to rate it on iTunes this would be really helpful to us and our developers as we can see how to make the Geeky Gadgets iPhone App better in the next version.Read More....

FLO TV coming to iPhone

CES 2010: Watch live TV on the Jesus phone
Qualcomm has teamed up with Mophie, the company that makes battery cases for the iPhone and iPod touch, to create a case for the iPhone that will allow Apple phone users to get the FLO TV service on the go in the US.
The new case, which has been promised for some time to launch in the first half of this year, will combine the technology in a charging case giving users a chance to choose channels such as full-length simulcast and time-shifted programming from Adult Swim Mobile, CBS Mobile, CNBC, Comedy Central, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, MTV, NBC 2Go and Nickelodeon.
The new products integrate Mophie's case design with a built-in FLO TV receiver that allows iPhone and iPod touch users the ability to watch live television at the flip of a switch.
The news comes as Mophie announced separately that it would be launching a credit card reader for the iPhone allowing people to take payments directly from their phones.
Qualcomm launched their first dedicated FLO TV device in November in the US. Read More...

Mobile app store comes to India

Even the emerging market operators are looking for a slice of the app store action. Indian operator Aircel said Tuesday it has tapped up application services firm Infosys to build it an application store catering to Aircel’s almost 30 million mobile subscribers.
nfosys will use its white label app store platform Flypp to power the shop front, which will host mobile applications drawn from an Infosys-managed ecosystem of independent software vendors.
But it’s unlikely that the types of applications in Aircel’s store will be anything like those now common to the iPhone and Android app stores, seeing as all of Aircel’s subscribers are still equipped with 2G GSM handsets and generate a monthly ARPU of $2.36 according to Informa’s WCIS database. Instead we can expect to see mobile money and SMS-based m-payment applications, which are already driving data revenues in the emerging markets.
Gurdeep Singh, COO of Aircel, said the Aircel Application Store “Will offer consumers a broad selection of most relevant applications to choose from in the most convenient manner be it through voice, SMS, GPRS or the internet on your mobile.”
India’s mobile operators are still holding out for an auction of 3G spectrum, which is expected to take place this month, but may well be delayed again.Read more.....

Windows Mobile Bug Dates Messages from 2016

Windows Mobile users are facing an unexpected New Year’s surprise. A software bug has struck smartphones running the Microsoft operating system so all messages received starting January 1 are dated 2016.
Phones running versions 6.1 or 6.5 of Windows Mobile are reportedly affected. Microsoft and the handset makers haven’t responded yet with a fix for the bug. We are still waiting for a comment from the company.
The Windows Mobile bug is similar to the once-feared Y2K problem where computer programs had to be rewritten to ensure they interpreted the “00″ date tag as year 2000, instead of 1900. Windows Mobile had 11 percent share of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2008. But it has been losing ground to competitors such as Apple with the iPhone OS and the Google-designed Android operating system. In the fourth quarter, Windows Mobile’s market share declined to 7.9 percent.
The latest Win Mobile bug is an annoyance to its users. Because messages are incorrectly dated, they get lost in the inbox and conversation threads don’t show up appropriately. Outgoing messages, though, are dated correctly.
There is a temporary solution. An unofficial patch tries to use the phone’s clock rather than the one used by the SMS gateway to date the messages correctly. Meanwhile, users of Windows Mobile based smartphones on T-Mobile’s network say they haven’t faced the problem.Read More.....

Google to launch Nexus One in first foray into smartphones

For months the technology world has been gossiping about Google’s most closely guarded secret — the arrival of its first very own mobile phone.
Despite the growing anticipation of a smartphone rumoured to be capable of challenging the iPhone’s market dominance, no previews have been given and leaks about it have been few and far between.
Tomorrow the clamour will end when Google reveals the Nexus One, its touchscreen phone named after the “replicants” in Ridley Scott’s science-fiction film Blade Runner.
The phone, which uses Google’s Android mobile phone operating system, marks a significant step for the search giant that, until now, has offered phones only in partnership with other companies.
Reports suggest that the Nexus One will be sold online at around $500 (£310). The Times understands that it will be available initially in the US and later in Europe.
While the phone is being manufactured by the Taiwanese company HTC, Google has taken the lead in designing the Nexus One’s hardware and software.
Smartphones are turning into the gatekeepers of how we access the internet. Google has its sights set on Apple’s iconic iPhone, which has become, since it launch in 2007, the benchmark in the rapidly growing market. Google revealed its open-source Android operating system nearly two years ago. Since then a dozen Android phones by companies such as Samsung and Motorola have been launched, including the recent, heavily promoted Motorola Droid.
Google wants more people to use its Android system because it is optimised for Google software applications. Mobile search has huge potential for growth as more people go online using their mobile phones and Google aims to deliver more ads to them.
Reports suggest that the Nexus One has a slightly larger screen than the iPhone, an exchangeable battery and offers consumers the option of adding a memory card. Consumers will be able to access the web, play video games and use Google’s free GPS navigation software. The smartphone will also have a 5-megapixel camera and wi-fi connectivity.
The Nexus One’s unlocked version will allow consumers to use a supplier of their choice to provide wireless service. Google is thought to have already approached T-Mobile and Vodaphone in the UK.
The Google briefing tomorrow’s at a media event at the company headquarters in Silcon Valley is likely to overshadow the opening on Wednesday of the world biggest gadgets show, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
Later this month Apple is to try to open up a new market in the mobile devices arena by launching a tablet-style computer, possibly called the iSlate.Read More......
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