Apple iPad Launched!

image As anticipated, this morning Steve Jobs, Apple CEO announced Apple latest creation, a Tablet device called iPad. At fist glance, the device looks and acts like a larger iPhone without the phone capability. Internet connectivity will be on WiFi or 3G cellular data.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

The hardware includes for the first time, Apple Chip A4 running at 1GHz. The A4 chip is the result of  P.A. Semi acquisition in 2008. Different options for Flash storage include 16, 32, or 64GB. The device weight 1.5 lbs and measured .5” thick. Bluetooth, WiFi 801.11N, Accelerometer, digital compass are all on board. The device has 10hrs battery life and 1 month stand by.

imageThe color 9.7” capacitive touchscreen display is featuring IPS (In Plane Switching) panel, which is generally considered the best overall LCD technology for image quality, color accuracy and viewing angles, IPS screen is well suited for graphics design and other applications which require accurate and consistent color reproduction.IPS panels offer the best viewing angles of any current LCD technology, with wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees.

image Apps and games designed for iPhone will run on the iPad with virtually no modification needed. Developer are invited to take full advantage of the large touchscreen display in the iPad with the new SDK that is available today.

Apple opens up their iBook store similar to Apple App store. iPad users can tap the on-screen icon to go to the  iBook Store, where they can discover, purchase, and download e-books. Apple uses the popular ePub format.

For the occasion, Apple also introduced iWork a software suite for the iPad. iWork is the Apple version of Microsoft Office that is designed to take advantage of the touch functions. iWork costs $9.99

The iPad syncs over USB with iTunes the same way iPhone or iPod touch. So when you sync, you sync everything. Photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, apps…. I assume apps purchased for the iPhone will be free to install on the iPad.

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As far as accessory, Apple offers a docking station with a physical keyboard for serious typing. A case with kickstand or kneepad is also shown.  

imageThe iPad is priced starting at $499. The WiFi + 3G version costs $130 extra and will be available within next 30 months. The WiFi versions are expected to be available sooner.

The optional 3G data plan is priced at $15 for 255MB/mo and $30 unlimited with.. AT&T.

It is a month-to month fee with no contract. The iPad is a GSM unlocked device. International users can pop in a micro-SIM card to  go online. Apple is working with other phone carriers for international plans, expect availability by mid-year.

[youtube width=”500″ height=”314″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Hz8dhQw8Q[/youtube]

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Twitter now Trending: Worldwide & (few) Local Trends

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Unless you follow topics of your interest. Twitter can be used to track noise (most discussed topics) in real time, around the Web. Until now displayed Trends have been related to the whole Internet, but with the recent Geo-tagged meta data implementation. Twitter now offers Trends related to specific location. Only 7 countries and 15 US cities are available at launch but Twitter promises more to come.

From Twitter Blog:

“Trends began as a way to shed light on popular conversations. It’s interesting to know that one topic can now spread across the world in real-time, and Trends help us discover which of those topics are paramount on a global scale.

As Twitter evolves, and more people share what’s happening in their own world, we want to provide another way for people to discover topics that may be relevant to them. Last week we began to slowly roll out a new feature called Local Trends to expose what people are talking about on the state and city level, and today we’ve fully launched so everyone can use it.

The big events that come up around the world will always become a global conversation, but what about the big events that only happen in your world that only matter to those around you? Or the slight differences in the way Californians perceive an event, like Obama’s election victory, versus those São Paulo, Brazil?

Local Trends will allow you to learn more about the nuances in our world and discover even more relevant topics that might matter to you. We’ll be improving this feature over time to provide more locations, languages, and data through our API”

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Google Voice Goes Official on iPhone and Palm Web OS Web Browser

image As promised right after the rejection from the Apple app store, Google today has made available its Google Voice app running in the browser of the iPhone and Palm Web OS devices at m.google.com/voice. The Web app provides almost the same functionalities as the stand-alone app with HTML5 protocol that Safari and WebOS browser support.

Google voice, still by invitation only, provides a local phone number to US user. Via Web interface, user can set the profile route all incoming calls from other phones (home, mobile, office) to one selected phone. In addition voicemails are transcribed to text and are treated as email.  User can give out the Google Voice number to friends and family as a personal number for life.

Existing Google Voice and iPhone users can go to m.google.com/voice and create an icon shortcut for convenience. Each call from the app will invoke native call app of the iPhone with Caller ID of personal Google Voice number instead of the iPhone number.  The app does a small background trick to call and connect both ends seamlessly.

The Web app features the dialer for voice and SMS call, contacts (from Google account), inbox, Gmail, Calendar,…

In my initial testing, the app is speedy, it uses some offline storage on the device to cache information. The contacts list seem to get from the Google account instead of the native contact list from the iPhone which is a problem for me not having one set-up.

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HTC Supersonic Android 2.1 Enabled and 4G WiMax Support

image According to a leaked 2010 roadmap, Sprint will be introducing the HTC Supersonic.

The Supersonic bears resemblance to the Windows Mobile powered HTC HD2, but it will carry the Google Android 2.1 or later OS.

Initial specs revealed a 4.3” AMOLED capacitive touchscreen;   1 GHz Snapdragon; FM radio, Kickstand, etc…

HTC certainly will adding its famous Sense UI flavor and possible its own tweak to make the multi-touch enabled for the US version.

The most exciting part, if the rumors are correct, the Supersonic will be among the first smartphone to support the 4G WiMax standard. (Hence the name Supersonic!). You can read more about Sprint WiMax HERE.

There is no info available related to pricing nor release date. There has been rumors that by mid 2010, Apple will also introduced its 4G iPhone, which might have WiMax support as well.  

[Photo credit: AndroidMobileOS]

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Apple iPhone Coming to all US Carriers

image In addition to many rumors indicating AT&T is loosing the iPhone exclusivity very soon, today Bloomberg reports Apple Inc. may release the iPhone to all U.S. wireless carriers in the next 18 months, doubling or tripling the number of devices sold, said Tim Horan, a telecommunications analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

The availability order would be T-Mobile first followed by CDMA version for Verizon and Sprint in Fall. By that time, Apple is expected to released the fourth generation of its iPhone.

In today financial results call to analysts, Apple reported a record of 8.7 million iPhones sold during the last quarter.

3-D Without the Glasses – Is It Really 3-D?

image Depending how you define 3D, many solutions are seen at the park attraction, movie or on the television screens at the  last CES. The ultimate 3D viewing, in my opinion would be a Star Wars-like holographic projection floating in the space without the need of a screen.

Holographic projections may give consumers Star Wars-like ideas of being able to interact with 3-D images – without having to wear glasses – but are those projections “real” 3-D?

Los Angeles-based Provision Interactive Technologies has come close with its  holographic projection technology, called Holovision, that projects a digital image up to 3 feet in front of the projection box’s screen.

Until now, the company only market to stores to promote products such watches, cellphone, jewelries images that float in a black box with viewer interaction capability.  (moving the object in 3D), but the company is planning to expand to home market starting wit game console.

“We’ve tested this on all three major video game consoles – Xbox, Wii, and Playstation – and we’re talking to several game developers right now. We really see our entrance into the consumer market there.”  says Curt Thornton, chief executive of PIT.

Similar to 3D technologies that don’t require glasses, the holographic images disappear with side angle viewing. And I even may say images are still confined in the “black box” in different sizes. But we hope in the future we can free them up!  Let give the technology few more years!

[Source WSJ]

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Extension & Bookmark Sync Added to Stable Google Chrome Version

image Google just released a new stable release (4.0.249.78) of Google Chrome for Windows, which includes two of the browser’s most frequently requested features: extensions and bookmark sync.

  • Extensions have been available for the on the Chrome beta channel. Now you can browse over 1,500 in our extensions gallery and install them on the stable version of Google Chrome. If you are Google Voice user, use this awesome extension!
  • Bookmark sync is a handy feature for those of you who use several computers.  You can enable bookmark sync to synchronize your bookmarks on all of your computers so that when you create a bookmark on one computer, it’s automatically added across all your computers. This means that you won’t need to manually recreate the bookmark each time you switch computers.

[youtube width="500" height="314"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfi5UCx6vTw[/youtube] video link

Download HERE

iTunes Alternative for Android: doubleTwist Partners with T-Mobile

image The success of any smartphone platform will depend on its ecosystem as Apple has shown with its iTunes integration. Smartphone operators would make effort to mimic  this success and this is probably the reason that T-Mobile will announce its partnership with doubleTwist.

We introduced doubleTwist last month. dT is a software that allows sync’ing media to smartphones (Blackberry, Palm, WM,..or any mp3 players) via USB. For this partnership, dT seems to be used exclusively on T-Mobile Android phones. 

To complete the iTunes-like experience, doubleTwist also offers the media purchase feature that connects to Amazon MP3 store in the back-end. Unfortunately, this feature will be omitted at launch on T-Mobile. TechCrunch reports the delay might cause by the soon integration of T-Mo app store to dT at later date.   

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How Smart do you need to be to use a Smartphone?

They’re called smartphones, but they’re neither equipped with artificial intelligence nor do you have to be very smart to use them. Rather, they’re just mobile telephones that can also be used to imagedo most of the things that computers help you do. So if you’re shopping for a smartphone with the belief that you can somehow improve the way you work and do things in a smarter way, it’s time you realized that a smartphone is only as smart, or as enterprising as its owner.

There are various reasons why people buy smartphones:

  • Because they’re the latest in the market
  • Because they’re trendy
  • Because they look good
  • Because their friends have them
  • Because no one else has them
  • And because they genuinely want to use all the features that the phone has.

If you look at the percentage of people who fall into the last category, you’ll find that it’s much less than the number in the other categories. People buy smartphone because they’re cool or because they want to impress their friends and relatives. It’s something of a peer pressure thing now, to own the latest and trendiest phone as soon as it hits the market.

The iPhone could be blamed for setting this trend – although there were many smartphones in the market for many years before the iPhone came into existence, it was this cool gadget from Apple that redefined the way people perceived the smartphone. Earlier, it was marketed as a gadget for people who wanted easy access to their email (the BlackBerry) and for those who wanted their phones to do much more than work as a communication tool.

Today however, it is more a tool to manipulate your photos, store songs and movie clips, have video chats, browse the Internet, download music and videos, and make the occasional normal phone call. There are very few people who are fully aware of what their phone does, and fewer still who take advantage of all the features that are built into their phone. For example, how many of you who own a smartphone know that you can load software that is not just cool but also useful on your phone if it has an operating system?

For instance, do you know that you can stay connected to your friends for free through IM software that you can load on your phone? Or that your phone can become your personalized GPS through Google Maps and the Latitude application? You can even make free calls between your phone and a friend’s if you both have Fring – the call is routed through the Internet using VoIP.

The point is that very few people know what their smartphone can do and fewer who actually utilize it completely. So we come back to the question – how smart do you have to be to use a smartphone? And the answer is – you have to be smart enough to find out what it is capable of, and use all the features that you’ve paid for.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Williams, she writes on the topic of Computer Technician Programs . Email her at: barbara.williams07@gmail.com 

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Augmented Reality WhereMark 1.1 for iPhone Released

There are many Augmented Reality apps for the iPhone but unfortunately not many are easy and practical for daily use.

WhereMark is an exception. WhereMark is free and the latest version 1.1 offers even more intuitive user interface.  Once launched, the “settings” button located on the bottom left gives choices of:

  • Categories: popular categories such: Bar, Dining, Landmark, transportation, etc..as well as location you saved previously
  • Feeds: Geo tagged Tweets, WiKipedia and Flickr
  • Search: takes you to Google map to perform location-based searches

Since it is an AR app, most likely you’d select a category and explore your surroundings, the results are large and very readable. Taping on each search result will take you to detailed info about the place (phone#, map, website, etc…). In my testing, the results are very accurate.

You can also explore the way to save your locations for later reference.  Take a look at the below video for more.

[youtube width="500" height="314"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkHfS4yubgc[/youtube]

Download WhereMark HERE (iTune link)