Computex 2011: HP TouchPad demoed courtesy of SanDisk

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Jun 022011
 

HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad made an appearance at Computex courtesy of SanDisk, the company providing the onboard memory components. Philippines-based GadgetsMagazine.com.ph captured an impromptu demonstration. It reveals nothing really new but gives you a sense of the multitasking capabilities of the upcoming tablet. Features such as email, viewing pictures, browsing, and Synergy, were all quickly shown off.

Although there are a couple of moments where touch seems unresponsive, the overall performance was quite smooth.

The webOS-powered HP TouchPad is expected this summer in 16 and 32GB configurations (and a 64GB one if SanDisk is to be believed). Pricing has yet to be announced.

No decision yet on telecom foreign ownership from new Canadian Industry Minister

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Jun 012011
 

With a majority now in hand, Canada’s Conservative government is expected to have an easier time moving forward with its political agenda. One item garnering attention this week is how the government will move forward with easing foreign ownership rules in the telecommunication sector. It had first announced this intention more than a year ago.

New Industry Minister Christian Paradis took to the stage yesterday at the Canadian Telecom Summit but shed little light on the government’s plans. While reconfirming his government’s commitment to a “digital economy strategy,” he gave no concrete details or timelines. He added: “Foreign ownership, meanwhile, remains an important piece of this puzzle, and one that I am personally committed to getting right.”

The government is expected to hold a 700 and 2,500MHz spectrum auction either in late 2012 or early 2013. Canadian carriers, both incumbent as well as newer players, have all begun putting forward their opinions and suggestions in an effort to make the auction as ‘fair’ as possible. Paradis only confirmed that consultations on how to structure the auction, including conditions for the new licenses, would begin later this year.

Steve Jobs to unveil iOS 5, Mac OS X Lion, and iCloud at WWDC

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May 312011
 

Apple

Apple today confirmed that Steve Jobs, the company’s CEO, will deliver the keynote at the upcoming WWDC. As expected, it will focus on software:

At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch; and iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

Apple’s iCloud service is expected to replace the current MobileMe cloud service and add new features such as a music streaming and storage service.

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Computex 2011: ASUS Eee Pad MeMO goes 3D

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May 302011
 

As part of its Computex announcements, ASUS today announced that the Eee Pad MeMo, first announced at CES 2011, will sport a 7-inch glasses-free 3D display. It will support both multi-touch and stylus input (stylus included).

The Eee Pad MeMO 3D is designed to be an alternative take on the 10″ tablet that is fast becoming a standard size. This portrait-oriented device uses a screen that can also be used more traditionally with all Android Honeycomb applications, should users choose to do so.

The ASUS MeMo will be powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and Android 3.0. It will also come with 1GB RAM, a microSD card slot and a 5MP camera with LED flash.

The ASUS MeMo will ship in Q4 2011. Pricing information was not revealed.

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Apple iOS 5 to feature revamped notifications and widgets?

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May 292011
 

Apple

Without providing much in terms of details, TechCrunch is reporting that Apple’s upcoming iOS 5 (widely expected to be unveiled at WWDC) will feature a completely revamped notification system as well as widgets.

Apple is also pushing journalists to attend this year’s WWDC as “the software announcements will be huge.” The emphasis on software lends credence to earlier rumours that Apple will not announce a new iPhone at the event.

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Final teaser image for upcoming ASUS “Pad or phone” device

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May 292011
 

With Computex just around the corner, ASUS today released the last image of its teaser campaign about its “Pad or phone” device. Two devices are visible so a ‘Pad and phone’ is looking a bit more likely than a ‘Pad or phone.’

ASUS 'Pad or Phone' device

ASUS has also confirmed via Facebook that it will announce a new smartphone and one of the previous images hinted at ‘the next evolution of the Eee PC.’ The odds are getting better that we will see the two work together much as the Motorola ATRIX does with its LapDock accessory.

In any case, all should be revealed shortly…

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Another hint about mysterious ASUS “Pad or Phone” device

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May 272011
 

ASUS continues its “Pad or Phone” teaser campaign ahead of Computex. Below is the latest image released:

Upcoming ASUS device

Are we looking at a smaller 5- to 7-inch tablet? If so, how does the netbook with a “twist” teaser fit into this? Could this be a smartphone that docks into a convertible netbook/tablet hybrid accessory?

Any thoughts?

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Mysterious ASUS device to be a netbook with “a twist”

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May 252011
 

ASUS has revealed a few new details and another picture about the mysterious “PAD or Phone” device it will reveal at Computex. According to ASUS, it is “a brand new Eee PC. But it’s no ordinary netbook… this super-slim sensation has a twist…”

Upcoming ASUS netbook

It remains to be seen what the twist is. Could this netbook be more a docking accessory for a smartphone? Or perhaps its display will twist to convert it to a tablet? All should be revealed next week.

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Microsoft unveils Windows Phone Mango

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May 242011
 

Windows Phone

Microsoft today showed off its upcoming Windows Phone Mango update. It promises hundreds of new features as it “takes a major step forward in redefining how people communicate and use apps and the Internet, giving you better results with less effort,” according to Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s mobile communication business.

The update is focused on three areas: easier communications, smarter apps, and the Internet. Among these are the following:

  • Threads. Switch between text, Facebook chat, and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
  • Groups. Group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see the latest status updates and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group, right from the Start screen.
  • Deeper social network integration. Twitter and Linked In feeds are now integrated into contact cards. There’s also built-in Facebook check-ins, and new face detection software that makes it easy to quickly tag photos and post to the web.
  • Linked Inbox. See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organized to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail.
  • Hands-free messaging. Built-in speech-to-text and text-to-speech support enables hands-free texting or chatting.
  • Improved Live Tiles. Live Tiles are more dynamic and can hold more information—making it easier to get real-time info from apps without having to open them.
  • Multitasking. Apps can now run in the background while preserving battery life and performance. You can also quickly switch between open apps.
  • Internet Explorer 9 with support for HTML5 and hardware-accelerated graphics.
  • Bing. Bing on Windows Phone offers more ways to search the web with voice and music search and Bing Vision, which uses your phone’s camera to look up product info.
  • Local Scout. Provides hyper-local search results and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy to use guide powered by Bing.
  • Cards. Handy summaries of relevant info from Bing (including related apps) for products, movies, events or place you search for.

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Barnes & Noble to make ‘special announcement’ at May 24th press event

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May 182011
 

Barnes & Noble has begun to sent out press invitations for an event on May 24th in New York City. If a recent SEC filing is correct, the company will announce a new eReader device. Suggestions of a ‘special announcement’ give the story further credence.

One rumour suggests that it could be a more powerful device powered by Google’s Android 3.0 tablet operating system.

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Samsung cancels May 24th press event

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May 172011
 

Samsung logo

Samsung has canceled a press event that it had scheduled for May 24th in New York. The company provided no explanation and did not provide a rescheduled date. Perhaps Samsung wanted to avoid a conflict with Microsoft’s Windows Phone press event on the same day?

Samsung had not provided any details as to what the event would cover. Rumours had suggested that it could be the North American launch of either the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet or the Samsung Galaxy S II.

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Google I/O 2011: Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung launching June 15th

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May 112011
 

Samsung Chromebook

Google today announced the first commercial devices (following the Cr-48 pilot program) to be powered by its Chrome OS. Dubbed Chromebooks, they will be available from Acer and Samsung starting on June 15th.

These are not typical notebooks. With a Chromebook you won’t wait minutes for your computer to boot and browser to start. You’ll be reading your email in seconds. Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won’t need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files. Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don’t need to carry a power cord everywhere. And with optional 3G, just like your phone, you’ll have the web when you need it. Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain.

The first Chromebooks will be available as of June 15th from Amazon.com and Best Buy in the US. Acer models (11.6-inch HD display, dual-core Intel processor) will start at US$349. Samsung models (12.1-inch WXGA display and dual-core Intel processor) will start US$429 for Wi-Fi-only and US$499 for 3G/Wi-Fi models. There is no word yet on availability in Canada.

Google will also offer Chromebooks on monthly subscriptions starting at US$28 per month per user for business and US$20 per month per user for educational institutions.

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Google I/O 2011: Google announces movie rental and music services

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May 102011
 

Google

As part of its first Google I/O 2011 keynote, Google announced two new services: Movie rentals through the Android Market and Music Beta by Google, a digital locker and streaming service.

Much as it did with Books recently, Google will offer movie rentals through the Android Market. It will be possible to stream or download (by ‘pinning’) the movies to your Android devices. Rentals will start at US$1.99 and you will have 24 hours to watch the movie within a 30-day rental period.

A new Movie apps will be available for tablets starting with Android 3.1 and for smartphones with Android 2.2 and up.

Music Beta by Google will let you upload and access your music collection (up to 20,000 songs for now) from any Android device as well as Macs and PCs. With no major studio support, it is unfortunately limited to what you upload. As with movie rentals, you can pin your music to download it to your device of choice to have it available when there is no connectivity. I’ll let the video below explain it:

Google Music is currently in beta and requires an invitation for access. It is free for now but Google has suggested that it will not always be so (although a free entry-level option may remain).

Microsoft to unveil next Windows Phone release on May 24th

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May 092011
 

Microsoft has begun to send out press invitations to a Windows Phone event on May 24th in New York City. There Microsoft will “lift the curtain on the next major release of Windows Phone.”

Microsoft May 2010 press event

The scope of what will be included in Windows Phone 7.5 (codenamed Mango) has also changed a bit with new features being revealed. A Windows Phone Dev Podcast has revealed some new goodies, including Bing Audio (essentially a Shazam clone), Bing Vision (a similar to Google Goggles), turn-by-turn navigation instructions for Bing Maps (not available in all countries), voice-to-text SMS, and a native podcast player. Microsoft has yet to confirm these features but we should not have to wait too long to know for sure.

To date, Microsoft has confirmed that Mango will come with Internet Explorer 9, Silverlight run-time, improved multitasking, deeper phone integration, and new apps including Angry Birds and Skype among others.

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