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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Thekstategeek is new and improved. TECHTOIT.COM

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

WE HAVE MOVED. Due to our unexpected success, we have changed domains and moved to a “big boy” server. If you reach this page via a search, or reference or anything really, then click the link below to take you to our new site – TECHTOIT.COM. New logo, new slogan, new look, new feel… it’s the real deal.

WOW THAT SOUNDS AWESOME! TAKE ME TO TECHTOIT.COM RIGHT NOW!

NFC powered mobile payments may be the future, and Apple is taking the lead

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Google and Samsung partnered up to release the world’s first NFC-enabled handset running the Android OS, the Nexus S. But, as anticipated, Apple has started to prepare their defenses. Bloomberg reports that NFC, or Near Field Communications will be embedded in Appple’s 5th generation of iPhone and their soon-to-be-announced iPad 2. This will allow these devices to be used as mobile payment terminals when they come within a certain distance of an NFC-powered register. Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group spoke with Bloomberg and told them that

The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4 inches, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, Doherty said. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.

The payment system would tie into your iTunes account, accessing your credit card information within the program’s database. Although at first this seems a bit scary, it’s a convenient method that a lot of consumers use on a regular basis. PayPal, eBay, Amazon, iTunes and other online-based shopping experiences tap into your bank account directly based on the information you input when signing up for accounts. However, who is to say that this technology could not be used in a negative manner. What if hackers stumble upon a method of using NFC to transfer funds from your mobile device tapped to your checking/savings account into an account of their own? Anyone passing by you in a busy place could sap money with a few seconds without you, or the thief ever making any awkward/obvious movements. Next-gen pick pockets could have a field day.

As for other uses of NFC technology, earlier rumors via TUAW and MacDailyNews, suggested that Apple has been working on NFC-enabled Mac computers as well. Apple would essentially morph your phone into “a passcode-protected electronic wallet or security passkey (like a SecureID fob) that would communicate via the short-range wireless technology to other compatible devices.” Your iPhone would transfer the personality of your home or work Mac to the NFC-compatible terminal. If hotel rooms and other public places adopted the use of this technology, no one would need to carry a MacBook around. Simply swipe your iPhone 5 in front of the supplied public-access Mac and poof. You now have your computer in front of you.  Once you walk away from the remote Mac, it reverts back to its initial personality, with all of your information disappearing from the Mac but securely stored on your iPhone, notes TUAW.

NFC technology was introduced to the public as a gamble on Google’s part, but may change the way we interact with objects on a daily basis in the coming years due to Apple. Come on Steve, we know Bill stole your thunder way back when, but is vengeance projected onto Google really necessary? I personally don’t mind. As I said in the iOS 4.3 article, I love this kind of competition. Let the games begin.

[Sources: TUAW, MobileMarketingWatch, MacDailyNews, Bloomberg]

The really awesome, not as well known, not-yet-priced, elusive Nintendo 3DS.

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The Nintendo 3DS is the first of its kind. A 3D handheld gaming device going mainstream, and licensed by Nintendo nonetheless. Unfortunately, the 3DS isn’t being marketed well enough nor have very many details been released to the public to spark excitement. Today, I will lay out everything you need to know about the Nintendo 3DS, and don’t forget to search Google (or hopefully come back here) to check out what Nintendo had to say during their official press event focusing primarily on the 3DS at 3 o’ clock tomorrow afternoon.

Hardware

The device sports a 3.53 inch widescreen LCD display on the top, clocking in at an 800×240 resolution, while allocating 400 pixels for each eye to enable 3D viewing. The bottom screen has a slightly lower resolution (albeit it doesn’t allow for 3D, which would make sense) at 320×240 on a 3.02 inch LCD touch screen. It wears three cameras, one internally, two on the outside capable of .3 megapixel image capture. An innovative control scheme includes the “Slide Pad” which allows for 360-degree analog input, along with both a motion and gyro sensors in addition to the regular set of buttons. Other inputs include a 3D Depth Slider located on the side of the handheld that allows the gamer to adjust the level of 3D effect, a Home button to call system configuration (odd how as soon as it disappeared off of the PSP, the DS line picked it up) and a wireless on/off switch. Lastly, the 3DS has a port that reads both 3DS and (normal?) DS game cards as well as an SD card slot.

Software

Users can connect via Wi-Fi or LAN for communication or multiplayer gaming, but more interestingly, the 3DS can exchange data with other systems or receive data from the internet while it is in sleep mode. It will also come with a pretty expansive suite of applications preloaded on the device including 3DS Sound, Mii Studio (a user can create and export a Mii – there is also an option for auto-generating a Mii from a photo taken on the 3DS), Augmented Reality games (6 activation cards will be included), 3DS shop (for 3D movie downloads), 3DS camera (for taking 3D photos), an internet browser, Virtual Machine downloading service (for GameBoy games) and the classic PictoChat. There is the opportunity to download others, but details are scarce at this time.

Hmm... this looks a little weird

Game Lineup

The list of games to be released for the Nintendo 3DS is ridiculously long including… just about every franchise known to man. The following franchises either have been confirmed or rumored (meaning quoted from a game studio exec) to be coming to the 3DS:

Animal Crossing, Asphalt, Assassin’s Creed, Dead or Alive, Driver, FIFA, Ghost Recon, Golden Sun, Harvest Moon, Kingdom Hearts, Luigi’s Mansion, Madden, Mario Kart, Mega Man, Metal Gear Solid, Naruto, Nintendogs +Cats, Paper Mario, Pokemon, Pro Evolution Soccer, Raving Rabbids, Resident Evil, Ridge Racer, Splinter Cell, Starfox 64, Super Monkey Ball, Street Fighter, The Sims, WarioWare, Yu-Gi-Oh and Zelda.

Concept Trailer

Game Lineup

PROBLEMS

The two problems that have arisen in regards to this new-age device are the battery life and the possible health hazards. The battery life is supposed to last between 3 and 8 hours of play. I would hope that it will be more towards the 8 hour end of the spectrum but I’m sure that it is completely up to how the gamer is using the device (varying use of 3D movies, 3D/2D gaming, internet browsing, etc.). And there have been repeated reports of 3DS testers feeling “nauseated and dizzy” after extended amounts of play. So if one were to play for the 8 full (possible) hours, the dizziness and nauseousness are expected to be intense.

Reveal

Tomorrow at 9 AM Central US time, Nintendo will be unveiling the 3DS for the US/UK in Amsterdam. This will hopefully include a release date and pricing (no Nintendo hasn’t even released that yet). As for Japan, they will be receiving the 3D handheld February 27, for what converts roughly to $300.

[Sources: Nintendo, Wikipedia, Nintendo3DSBlog]

Frozen treats anyone?

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Android Ice Cream – I kid you not. The next installment to Google’s Android OS (possibly 2.4?) is dubbed Ice Cream, and ironically it has a summer target release date. Last week Google officially released Android 3.0 Honeycomb (a tablet exclusive operating system) amongst the CES craziness (although it wasn’t like no one knew). Honeycomb will grace us with its presence on Motorola’s Xoom tablet when it is shipped this Spring… but Google tried to pull a fast one on us.

A Sony Ericsson Xperia device was seen running Android 2.4 on the showroom floor which got the rumor mill churning. Rikard Skogberg wrote in the SE blog that the number was an error and a misconfiguration and it was nothing to get excited about… yet that doesn’t stop us. Pocket-Lint (an odd name) cites multiple sources “familiar with the matter” that Google has Ice Cream down for a June/July release and will announce it at its I/O conference in May. Google has said in the past that it focuses on two major releases per year and Ice Cream paired with Honeycomb in January would comply with this agenda.

Fun fact of the day? All of Android’s OS updates have been in alphabetical order and names after desserts. Check out the table above for more information on each individual update since Android’s birth in early 2009.

The latest news came from TechCrunch, Jason Kincaid (writer for TechCrunch) heard firsthand from Andy Rubin (Android chief) that the next Android OS update will be called Ice Cream Sandwich. Why is that? Google creates a sculpture of the latest Android-flavored dessert to place out front of their HQ, and it would be too hard to differentiate between Froyo (frozen yogurt) and Ice Cream. Ha! Once again, I kid you not.

[Sources: Wired, TechCrunch, Android Community]

Two words – Facebook phone

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Rumors and speculation have gone dormant since September in regards to the Facebook phone but Android Community stirred things up again yesterday. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group submission dubbed the INQ Cloud Touch may just be the fabled Facebook phone that everyone has been waiting for. Why have we come to that conclusion? The following description was included with the listing:

INQ Cloud Touch is an Android smartphone built to make messaging faster and smarter. It’s designed around the way people naturally communicate and has Facebook built into its core. The homescreen features multiple entry points to different Facebook functions, while a dynamic widget displays a feed of status updates, albums, videos and photos.

Well, wait. Didn’t you know that Facebook was planning on creating a phone? TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington wrote on September 11, 2010 –

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.

So what does Facebook have to say about this “source who has knowledge of the project”? Well they denied the fact that they were actually making the phone, because they are not. Neither did Apple or Google (they don’t really put screwdrivers to screws on the production line do they?). CNET informs us that:

Facebook happily admits that it is working on deep integration with other hardware and software. Zuckerberg has since told TechCrunch that a social experience has to be built “from the ground up”, rather than bodging a social layer on to existing products — a la Google — which suggests Facebook wants to be part of the foundation of a device, rather than an app slapped on at the end.

Since CNET’s in-depth analysis of what they think of the Facebook phone on September 23, 2010, it has been all quiet on the Western front (was unsure if I should capitalize that reference)… until yesterday. Bloomberg has announced that the folks at Zuckerburg studios are working on two Facebook smartphones and that the INQ devices (Cloud Touch does fall in line with those) will be released in Europe during the first half of 2011.

Vizio in 2011: Vizio Tablet, Vizio Phone, cheap 3D, Google TV

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment


Vizio has laid out their plans for 2011. A tablet, a smartphone, 3D TVs for under $300, a Google TV device called Via Plus with their own UI, and a Netflix competitor branded Vizio on Demand (I have to admit, they don’t necessarily go out on a limb when naming their products). Bottom line for Vizio this upcoming year? It’s going to be exciting no matter which way you try to spin it. Let’s begin with the Vizio Tablet:

Say yes to more. Introducing the VIZIO Tablet from the pioneer that redefined the connected TV experience. Also part of the VIA Plus™ ecosystem, this 8” high resolution touchscreen is designed for entertainment at home or on the go. The easy to use interface makes streaming media, video chat, web browsing, emailing or any other favorite app instantly satisfying.

The features listed on the Vizio website include a 1GHz processor, a high-resolution front-facing camera for video chats, HD video playback with an HDMI output, 3 speakers for stereo audio in either portrait or landscape orientations, 2 GB of internal storage with a MicroSD card slot and [most impressive/innovative of all] a built-in remote to control your entire home theater system.

Great things come in small packages! Introducing the VIZIO Phone — the latest innovation from VIZIO. Part of the VIA Plus™ ecosystem, the VIZIO Phone features a sophisticated, intuitive and easy-to-use touchscreen interface that puts your favorite apps, content and services in the palm of your hand.

Vizio’s specs for its smartphone are extremely similar with an HDMI output, 2 GB internal storage with a MicroSD slot and the ability to control your home theater. The screen on the phone comes in at 4 inches, runs on the same 1 GHz processor as its big brother, includes a 5 MP back-facing camera for both stills and HD recording.

Both devices run Android with a very sexy Vizio skinned UI called Vizio Via Plus. The demoed version was still in the rough, early stages of development but the animations and sleek transitions were enough to pique my interest. The next product in their Ecosystem is their version of Google TV with the same Via Plus UI skin.

The VIZIO HDTV actually runs both Android and Google TV simultaneously (a first on any TV), making it easy for users to sync apps and content from their mobile to the TV. The synergy also enables AirPlay-like functionality and provides a unified interface.

In addition to running Android and Google TV, the new product includes the newly announced OnLive cloud-based gaming support (in addition to other premium VIA apps).

As for the cheap 3D HDTVs, all that was said is that at some point during CES (which ends Sunday) we would hear something about units selling for under $300. Now that is certainly something to hope for. Wouldn’t mind having one of those in my dorm room!

[Sources: Vizio]

Panasonic captures the future in 3D, reveals consumer 3D cameras

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Panasonic at CES 2011 has been very impressive (not to mention immersive). For starters, seven new plasma HDTVs, six new LED LCDs and five new standard LCD HDTVs. Tack on their Google TV competitor Viera Connect, a new soundbar with a wireless subwoofer and blue-ray decks out the wazoo, and you would have a decent showing at CES, but the Consumer Electronics Show is about big, exciting and never-seen-before eye candy so they had quite a bit more up their sleeve.

3D movies have quickly become all the rage, as far as the movie industry is concerned, but it appears that soon enough 3D will appear in our homes… And Panasonic is going to ensure that it happens.Their Professional 3D Production Systems product series includes the AG-3DA1 3D Professional AVCCAM (amateur filmmakers!), a Professional 25.5″ 3D Production Monitor, and the AG-HMX100 Multi-Format HD/SD Digital A/V Mixer. The Professional 3D Production line has been out for a while, but it was the first of its kind. Yesterday, they announced many new 3D goodies that are more for the non-professionals of the world: 3D video conferencing (HDVC), a new consumer 3D camcorder and a new consumer 3D still camera.

The two cameras look well… freakish. But that’s what makes them so awesome. And who does not like the idea of being able to record moments, whether still or in motion, in 3D? Fantastic. Panasonic may have fallen behind as far as other consumer electronics, but they are leading the way in 3D. I’m excited to see how far they go.

[Sources: CNET, Engadget, Panasonic]