Official Twitter Client for Android Released

TwtAndroidSolSie

As promised, today Twitter released its official Twitter Client for Android, available in Android Market.

The simple app allows users to share any link or photo.  Quickly access the timeline with the home screen widget, view a tweet location on a map, and see your friend’s latest tweet in your phonebook, GoogleTalk list or any application that uses Android’s QuickContact bar.

The app is a collaboration between Twitter and Google Android team.

The good news is  Google will be open sourcing the code used in this app in the near future for third party developers 

(The Twitter for Android app is available for phones running Android 2.1 and above )

[Source Twitter]

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Protect Files on USB Stick

The use of USB stick has become widely popular to conveniently store and and carry your files around. Do you know that it is very easy to be forgotten and left behind at a public kiosk or somebody’s computer with perhaps your confidential data.

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USB Safeguard is a portable free utility that can password protect your selective files with strong encryption algorithm.

Once downloaded, you can drag the .exe file to your USB drive and launch it (keep a copy on your PC, incase you accidentally lose it). The utility will ask for a new master password (and conveniently offers to save your password on your PC in a txt file). Subsequently it will allow you to encrypt all or selective files, just by drag and drop.

Some nifty features that are rarely seen on a free utility:

  • Option, “what to do” when intruder trying to access your encrypted files
  • Virtual keyboard to protect possible keylogger infected PC
  • Provide your email and phone# if found. In case you lose your stick while getting drunk at a bar. 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb2cw8YAii4[/youtube]
Video link

Tip: on your USB stick, rename the file USBSafeguard.exe to Call_Me_If_Found.exe

[Photo &Via LifeRock2.0]

iPad Owners Can Officially Leave Home…

Starting at 5PM today, you can pick up the iPad WiFi-3G capable tablet at the Apple & Best Buy stores  near you. The more expansive version (Apple charges an additional $130 premium for the cost of adding a $30-or-less 3G radio hardware)  will free your iPad from the hotspot (and your couch). It allows you to roam around using the AT&T 3G network. Check out the blue map from Verizon web site for coverage in your area before you subscribe to AT&T $30 (month-to-month) “true unlimited” contract-free data plan. There is also a teaser plan at $14.99/month for up to 250MB.

Note: Don’t forget alternative viable solution for WiFi only iPad HERE!

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Google To Introduce Software for TV

image According to the WJS’s source, Google is planning to introduce Android-based television software to developers at an event in May. The software can be embedded in the TV set, Set-top box , etc.. to move contents from the Web to your living room. Sony, Intel, Logitech are expected to offer products to support this technology.

Google might unveil details at the Google I/O  conference in San Francisco May 19 and 20. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Sony is planning to announce devices using the Google software and Intel chips at the Google conference.

Meanwhile, Google is continuing a very limited test of a television search service with Dish Network Corp, according to people familiar with the matter. The service, which uses the new Google technology, allows users to access and search across programming from the Internet as well as Dish’s conventional programming, these people said. The test, which began last year, is still limited to a very small number of the company’s employees and their families.

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Skyfire Browser Brings Flash Support to Android

Skyfire, the other browser of the smartphone, known for Flash support just released its version for Android as precursor to iPhone version. Since Google just confirmed  Flash support in the next version of Android 2.2 codenamed FroYo, Skyfire would have short live.

Unlike the other versions, Web pages go through Skyfire proxy server , this time Skyfire is building its browser on top of open source WebKit (iPhone compatibility intention). Only pages that need transcode (e.g. Flash video) still go through Skyfire server  

Users will be presented withy a Skybar to select the video to play on the Web page, Skyfire then converts on-the-fly to H.264 to playback on full screen. The Skybar is also used to present related video to the current page and Social networking sites sharing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t00fEV2_kE[/youtube]
video link

[Via MobileCrunch]

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Six Reasons That Apple Does Not Allow Flash on its iPhone OS

Today Apple issued the below lengthy statement to further explain its position with Adobe’s Flash technology

image Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

First, there’s “Open”.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance , low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Fourth, there’s battery life

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Fifth, there’s Touch

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

[Source Apple]

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Apple & Adobe Enable H.264 Hardware Decoding on Mac OS X

image Few days ago Apple enabled low-level access to the graphic cards of the newer Mac computer in Mac OS X 10.6.3. Adobe took advantage of this API to access to the GPU hardware accelerator for video decoding. The new Flash player 10.1 using the API should provide better HD video playback experience and more importantly to further reduce power consumption.

The new video acceleration API is only available in Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later and is limited to GPUs models such as NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M. (iPhone, IPod Touch, iPad no need to apply ) For more details you can look at Apple’s technote. Here is a list of the Mac models currently supported:

  • MacBooks shipped after January 21st, 2009
  • Mac Minis shipped after March 3rd, 2009
  • MacBook Pros shipped after October 14th, 2008
  • iMacs which shipped after the first quarter of 2009

After you install the new beta version of Adobe Flash Player (code named “Gala”) and play a video you will sometimes notice a white rectangle overlaying the video. This is the sign that hardware decoding is currently active.

[Via Kaourantin]

Sony’s Dash, Bedside Tablet is Now on Sale

Announced at last CES 2010, Sony just now announced its Wifi-enable color touchscreen device named Dash is now available for about $199 at Amazon, www.sonystyle.com, Sony Style retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide

The tablet with built-in Wi-Fi, and an internal accelerometer which supports vertical flip, allowing for two optional viewing angles: upright, ideal for a table or nightstand; and tilted, perfect for a kitchen countertop. It also supports multiple user profiles and channels, allowing several members of the household to create and maintain their own customized view of the Internet.

Users can get free instant access to over 1,500 apps from chumby industries, inc, including popular social networking, news, weather, sports, live traffic feeds, and more?

Sony has also integrated access to audio and video content from Sonys Bravia Internet video platform, including YouTube, Pandora Internet radio, Epicurious, Crackle, Livestrong, Blip.tv, and many others.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntUR5LoG8AI[/youtube]
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Google Enhances Image Search for iPhone and Android

image Google just introduced its Web based image search for iPhone and Android devices that delivers almost the same experience as browsing your local photo roll.

To try this new version of Image Search, just go to www.google.com on your phone and tap on “Images.” The new experience is available in 38 languages worldwide.

Search results:
  • The thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images to be displayed on the screen at one time so you can scan them quickly
  • You can swipe to see the next or previous page of results, or tap the large, stationary ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ page buttons
  • Speed is optimized so that the images appear quickly when you browse
Viewing images:

When it comes to viewing the images, Google now makes them as large as possible by introducing a special image viewing page:

  • The black background emphasizes the image and the buttons fade after a few seconds so you can just see images with little distraction
  • Easily browse through the images by swiping from picture to picture

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyImd0y7ovE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
video link
Google Image Search for mobile, available today for iPhone 3.0+ and Android 2.1 devices

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Nokia N8 For Next Quarter

I was hoping that Nokia would’ve bought Palm, the fine hardware combined with WebOS and the US presence would’ve been the perfect winning marriage. But Nokia continues to pursue their path of using the aging Symbian OS and completely ignoring the US market, that is beyond my understanding. They just announced few days ago a new line of colorful smartphone called N8, dressed up with an enhanced version of Symbian to support multi-touch and a whopping 12MP camera. Below are more details:

The Nokia N8 are Nokia’s latest smartphone that lets people create compelling content, connect to their favorite social networks and enjoy on-demand Web TV programs and Ovi Store apps. Available during the third quarter of 2010, the estimated retail price of the Nokia N8 is EUR 370 ($500), before applicable taxes or subsidies. Unfortunately, US customers have to pay full price since there will be no US carriers market the device.

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The Nokia N8 introduces a 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and a large sensor that rivals those found in compact digital cameras. Additionally, the Nokia N8 offers the ability to make HD-quality videos and edit them with an intuitive built-in editing suite. Doubling as a portable entertainment center, people can enjoy HD-quality video with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound by plugging into their home theatre system. The Nokia N8 enables access to Web TV services that deliver programs, news and entertainment from channels like CNN, E! Entertainment, Paramount and National Geographic. Additional local Web TV content is also available from the Ovi Store.

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Social networking is one of the strong points. People can update their status, share location and photos, and view live feeds from Facebook and Twitter in a single app directly on the home screen. Calendar events from social networks can also be transferred to the device calendar.

The Nokia N8 comes with free global Ovi Maps walk and drive navigation, guiding people to places and points of interest in more than 70 countries worldwide.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Thu8flWHXE[/youtube]
Video link

Symbian^3 in action

Powering the Nokia N8 is Symbian^3, the latest edition of Symbian, which introduces several major advances, including support for gestures such as multi touch, flick scrolling and pinch-zoom. The Nokia N8 also offers multiple, personalizable homescreens which can be loaded with apps and widgets. The new 2D and 3D graphics architecture in the platform takes full advantage of the Nokia N8’s hardware acceleration to deliver a faster and more responsive user interface.

Symbian^3 also raises the bar in performance by delivering greater memory management allowing more applications to run in parallel for a faster multi-tasking experience.

Getting Qt for Developers

The Nokia N8 is Nokia’s first device to be integrated with Qt, a software development environment that simplifies the development and makes it possible to build applications once and deploy across Symbian and other software platforms. Nokia has also made the powerful and simple to use Nokia Qt SDK available, in its initial beta, to enable developers to start realizing the potential of Qt.

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