Archive for February, 2012


zAPPed Makes Your iOS Gadgets Part of the Board Game

By Joshua Schnell, Feb 14, 2012 4:44 PM

Photo: Hasbro

Hasbro plans to release new editions of three of its classic games this year. The spin? The zAPPed games will use iOS devices to help bring them to life.

The Game of Life zAPPed is available in stores now. Instead of being represented by tiny, featureless pink and blue pegs, players can completely customize their virtual pegs, adding hair, hats and other accessories. The iPad is also used to play a series of mini-games that have been integrated into the main game, as well as serving as the spinner, complete with an authentic tick-tick-ticking sound. Hasbro additionally partnered with America’s Funniest Videos to bring life stage appropriate videos to the game.

In Monopoly zAPPed, you can use any iOS device as a digital bank. That’s right; there’s no paper money in this version of the game, which is good for those with limited math skills but bad for those who liked to hedge their bets by hiding a few hundreds under the board. [Crap; there goes my entire strategy. –Ed.] Instead, each player gets a “debit card” that lives on your iOS gadgetry–just tap it to complete a transaction. The Community Chest and Chance cards have also gone digital, replaced by more digital mini-games. You can play additional mini-games to get out of jail or avoid fines. [Man, imagine if that existed in real life… –Ed.]

With Battleship zAPPed, you place the battleships onto the surface of an iPad. Special conductive paint on the battleships will allow the iPad to track their positions (Monopoly zAPPed uses a similar technology to differentiate the debit cards).

Monopoly zAPPed should be out this June, with Battleship zAPPed following in September. The games should all be priced around $25, but they of course do not include the iOS devices, which could be the bigger price hurdle for some. The accompanying iOS apps will be available for free in the App Store.

Samsung Launches Low-Cost Android 4.0 Tablet

By Mikael RicknäsIDG News    Feb 13, 2012 10:30 pm

 

Samsung Electronics has launched the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), the first of its tablets to ship with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and its own Touchwiz user interface, the company said on Monday.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)The latest addition to Samsung’s tablet portfolio is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and has a 7-inch screen with a 1024-by-600 pixel resolution.

The tablet will cost about €270 (US$350) excluding taxes for the Wi-Fi version, according to a statement from Samsung in Sweden, which also says that it will start shipping in March.

Samsung will also sell a 3G version of the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), which can function as a phone and connects to the Internet using HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) at 21mbps.

The tablet is 0.41 inches (10.5 millimeters) thick and weighs 0.75 pounds (344 grams), compared to the iPad 2, which is 0.34 inches (8.8 millimeters) thick and weighs 1.32 pounds (601 grams).

The specification also includes two cameras; 8, 16, or 32GB of integrated storage and MicroSD card slot; and a 4000 mAh battery that should last for up to 39 hours, according to Samsung.

With a lower price, Samsung hopes to attract a larger audience to its tablets. Sales of Android-based tablets more than tripled during the fourth quarter of 2011, but Apple still dominates the market, according to a recent report from Strategy Analytics. The Android camp had a 39.1 percent share of global tablet shipments, compared to 29 percent a year earlier. Apple’s share dropped from 68.2 percent to 57.6 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

1. Thin Ice

2.  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

3. This Means War

New to DVD this week:

1. Paranormal Activity 3

2. The Rum Diary

3. Take Shelter

AMD‘s Ultrathin Set to Undercut Intel Ultrabooks by $200

By Daniel Ionescu

AMD is preparing chipsets for thin laptops that would cost up to $200 less than an Intel-powered Ultrabook, according to a Digitimes report. AMD hopes to take down Intel’s Ultrabooks on price, and is set to launch in June its platform for thin and light laptops, codenamed Ultrathin, which the company hinted at during the CES.AMD’s Ultrathin Set to Undercut Intel Ultrabooks by $200

The current generation of Intel Ultrabooks cost upward of $900, with some models, such as the HP Envy 14, retailing at $1,400. Intel expects some 70 new Ultrabooks models this year and is hoping that its next-generation Ivy Bridge platform, arriving in April, will drive down the cost of Ultrabooks between $700 and $900, bringing the thin and light laptops into the mainstream.

AMD’s ultrathin laptops (Intel trademarked the term Ultrabooks) will use the company’s Trinity chips, which will come in dual- and quad-core options. AMD’s chips tend to be priced lower than Intel’s, and ultrathin laptops seem to be no exception. The starting price for Trinity laptops would be around $500, up to $200 less expensive than the expected average price of an Intel Ultrabook.

When it comes to performance, AMD says its Trinity chips draw around 17 watts of power, roughly the same as upcoming Ultrabook chips based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. Trinity chips are set to deliver the same performance AMD’s A-series chips currently used in standard laptops, but consume half the power.

There won’t be as many models of AMD-powered ultrathin laptops as Intel’s Ultrabooks, according to Digitimes. Only around 20 ultrathin models are expected this year, with HP, Acer and Asus tipped as the first manufacturers of such laptops.

Upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS screenshots leak

CrackBerry.com has acquired an internal email from RIM, which shows off the UI of their next generation OS, the BlackBerry 10. The hardware in the pictures below might be current the current 9860 but the OS is all new.


In this picture we can see the new homescreen, which is quite a bit different from the one we saw before. You can see large widgets on the screen that remind you of the live tiles in Windows Phone. And they are not static either and you can see information like weather, call information, album art and current location on a map on the respective widgets. There is also a new bar at the bottom that vaguely reminds us a bit of Nokia’s Belle OS.

Moving on, we have the application drawer here. Looking at the screenshot it’s hard to say which direction it scrolls in. We can’t find the usual tabs at the top of the drawer as in the current OS 7 either, so maybe RIM has gone for a single, long list. We can see new icons, as well as a folder that you can use to put icons in. It’s unclear how you invoke this application drawer from the homescreen.

Finally, we have an image of the in-call screen, showing a large picture of the caller on top and large touch buttons, including one for video calls, below.

Overall, the new BlackBerry 10 is looking quite promising. Unfortunately, there will be quite a wait before we could actually get our hands on it.

Chinon Unveils Bargain Tablets

The Chinon Swift-7 costs just $160, while the Swift-10 costs $280.

By Jeff Bertolucci  Feb 14, 2012 7:15 am

Chinon USA Monday announced two low-cost Android tablets targeted at cost-conscious buyers. The 7-inch Chinon Swift-7 costs $160, while the 9.7-inch Chinon Swift-10 is $280.

Both tablets run Android 2.3–a disappointing choice what with new Android slates like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 featuring version 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The smaller Swift-7 is aggressively priced. In fact, it’s $40 less than Amazon’s popular Kindle Fire.

How do they compare? Both tablets have 7-inch screens, but the Kindle Fire’s 1024 x 600 resolution is higher than the Swift-7’s 800 x 600.

Unlike the Fire–but like Apple’s iPad–both Chinon displays (7- and 9.7-inch) have a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Expandable Storage

The Kindle Fire has more storage, too: 8GB (with 6GB available for user content) versus the Swift’-7’s 4GB. That’s enough room, Chinon says, for about 2,000 songs, 40,000 photos, or four full-length movies.

You can add storage to the Swift-7 or Swift-10 via a Micro SD memory card slot. Battery life for both Swift tablets is approximately five hours.

Like the Kindle Fire, the Swift-7 supports 802.11n Wi-Fi. Unlike the Fire, the Swift-7 has a front-facing camera with a not-so-great 640 x 480 resolution. (Given the tablet’s $160 price, it might be too greedy to expect anything better.)

The Swift-10 has two cameras–front and rear–each 2 megapixels. Like the iPad 2, its 9.7-inch IPS display has a 1024 x 768 resolution.

Chinon USA is clearly aiming for the bargain end of the burgeoning tablet market. The Swift specs suggest a so-so slate experience–which may be good enough for users who simply want to check email, watch the occasional YouTube video, and, yes, play Angry Birds.

Then again, the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook may very well offer a better user experience for a mere $40 more.

In the 10-inch market, the Swift-10 faces stiff competition from a host of Android challengers, many of which are priced only slightly higher. For instance, the Wi-Fi version of the aforementioned Galaxy Tab 2, which runs Android 4.0, will cost around $350 when it ships in March.

And don’t forget about the iPad 2, which Apple may continue to sell at a reduced price, once the iPad 3 (allegedly) arrives next month.

Tesla Model S Test Ride (video)

By  on February 13, 2012 in Cars

After more than a year of dreaming and drooling, I took another step closer to my silly dream car of the moment: Tesla let me ride in the front seat of a Model S.

I fully realize how ridiculous it is that only a select few actually get to ride along, let alone get behind the wheel, of a BMW/Mercedes competitor being sold on a reservations-only basis. I fully realize how ridiculous it is to, without having ever set foot in the thing, put down a $5,000 deposit on a car whose sticker price easily climbs above the $70,000 mark with options. And I fully realize how ridiculous it is to spend upwards of $80k to be one of the first in the world to take delivery of a car having no idea how the thing will handle once you load it up with seven passengers and luggage, let alone how well those giant, bleeding edge battery packs might hold up five or ten years down the road.

But Tesla’s tapped into something with their combination of Silicon Valley ingenuity, future looking clean tech, and luxury playboy moxie. Reservations for the Model S Signature are long since sold out, and plenty of folks plunked down another $5k each to reserve the new Model X crossover at last Thursday’s launch event.

As for me, I’ll have to be content to dream and drool a bit longer. My all too brief ride along in a Model S Signature made me want one all the more, but that doesn’t change the simple economics of the proposition: I don’t have the money to spend on a $60-90,000 automobile, even if it combines sexy fastback styling, room for up to seven, 5 Series– esque luxury and performance, and zero tailpipe emissions. Which is good, because now I don’t have to fret over which color to order mine in, let alone if I could possibly justify spending upwards of 60 large on a car.

HTC Endeavor (HTC Edge) Specs Appear In Leaked ROM

By Killian Bell on February 13, 2012 in HTC

The HTC Edge first leaked back in November, and was rumored to be the Taiwanese company’s first Tegra 3 quad-core smartphone. Just a couple of days ago, we discovered that its name was changed to the HTC Endeavor internally, and now we have the device’s internal specifications, thanks to a leaked ROM.

As expected, the device will be a flagship handset packing an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, according toPocketNow, with a 720p display, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

The ROM, which was posted to the XDA Developers forums, also reveals that the Endeavor will offer Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. But its most exciting features include the Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and the HTC Sense 4.0 user interface.
That’s right, not only will the Endeavor — which is believed to be its real retail name — be HTC’s first quad-core smartphone, but it’ll also be one of the first to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.

Now, I know you’re itching to know when the device will arrive. Rumor has it that the Endeavor will show its face at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. So you’ll be pleased to know that there isn’t long to wait.

I think the HTC Endeavor sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic Android device, but what do you think?

[via PocketNow]

Image of Motorola’s First Intel-powered Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Phone Leaked

By  on February 13, 2012 in Phones

Motorola Intel Android ICS

During the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Intel announced that it was partnering with Motorola Mobility to launch the first Intel-powered smartphones. Now, a leaked image fromPocketnow suggests that Motorola Mobility not only has an Intel-powered smartphone in the works, but also one powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The device will no doubt be important for both companies. Motorola Mobility has yet to launch an Android Ice Cream Sandwich device and Intel desperately wants to gain share in a mobile market dominated by Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung, Texas Instruments, ARM and others.

So far, we’re digging the thin design and the metal accents even though the phone looks a bit similar to the Motorola DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX, save for the touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the display. Unfortunately, the device still doesn’t have a name and it’s unclear what kind of specs it will offer. It is possible we will hear more during Mobile World Congress later this month but we have a feeling that might be too soon for an announcement.

[via Pocketnow]

LG Optimus 3D 2 photo surfaces, some specs in tow

The LG Optimus 3D was the star on the LG booth on last year’s MWC and it appears its successor will be the key announcement this year. We just got the first photo of the LG Optimus 3D 2 and it’s even garnished with some specs.

The LG Optimus 3D 2 will, reportedly, be using a higher resolution IPS screen than its predecessor. Given that this will be the company’s next flagship, we are almost certain that it will feature the HD AH-IPS display we know from the LG Optimus LTE.

The Optimus 3D 2 is also said to be considerably slimmer than its predecessor at 9.8mm and at least 20 g lighter. Given that its chubby body was one of the main issues with the original Optimus 3D, this can only be good news for the LG Optimus 3D 2.

The MWC kicks off in exactly two weeks, so we should soon find out if those rumors are true soon enough.

HP Readies Open-Source WebOS Release

By Nancy GohringComputerworld    Feb 13, 2012 9:08 pm

 

Hewlett-Packard announced plans to release the code behind webOS this September under the Apache License 2.0.

The license allows developers to mix open-source code with their own inventions and sell products using the code.

The webOS operating system was developed by Palm for phones and tablets.HP acquired Palm in 2010 and late last year announced it will no longer manufacture devices that use the software. Instead, HPsaid, it will release webOS to the open-source community.

HP laid out a timeline for releasing components of the software, starting with Enyo 2.0 and its source code. With Enyo, developers can create applications that work across different types of webOS-based devices. Enyo 2.0, released in late January as open-source software, adds support for other mobile operating systems. Now, developers can more easily write applications that work acrosswebOS , iOS and Android devices.

The full open webOS beta will be published in August, with Version 1.0 coming out in September.

In comparison, Symbian took a year and eight months to release its code, before it withered away battling new operating systems from Apple and Google.

Winners in selected major categories at Sunday’s 54th Annual Grammy Awards:

General Field

  • Song Of The Year: Rolling in the Deep, Adele
  • Record Of The Year: Rolling in the Deep, Adele
  • Album Of The Year: 21, Adele
  • Best New Artist: Bon Iver

Pop Field

  • Pop Performance by a Duo or Group: Body and Soul, Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse
  • Pop Vocal Album: 21, Adele
  • Pop Solo Performance: Adele, Someone Like You
  • Alternative Album: Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Rock Field

  • Rock Album: Wasting Light, Foo Fighters
  • Hard Rock/Metal Performance: White Limo, Foo Fighters
  • Best Rock Performance: Walk, Foo Fighters

R&B Field

  • R&B Song: Fool For You, Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim & Jack Splash
  • R&B Performance: Is This Love, Corrine Bailey Rae
  • Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: Fool For You, Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona
  • Best R&B Album: F.A.M.E., Chris Brown

Rap Field

  • Rap Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
  • Rap Song: All Of The Lights, Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West
  • Best Rap Performance: KanyeWest, Jay-Z for Otis
  • Rap/Sung Collaboration: All of the Lights, Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

Country Field

  • Country Solo Performance: Mean, Taylor Swift
  • Country Performance by a Duo or Group: Barton Hollow, The Civil Wars
  • Country Song: Mean, Taylor Swift
  • Best Country Album: Own The Night, Lady Antebellum

Jazz Field

  • Jazz Vocal Album: The Mosaic Project, Terri Lyne Carrington & various artists
  • Jazz Instrumental Album: Forever, Corea, Clark & White
  • Improvised Jazz Solo: 500 Miles High, Chick Corea
  • Large Ensemble Jazz Album: The Good Feeling, Christian McBride Big Band

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 12, 2012, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles being broadcast on CBS. Nominations were announced on November 30, 2011 on prime-time television as part of “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! – Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night”, a one-hour special broadcast live on CBS from Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.Kanye West received the most nominations with seven. Adele, Foo Fighters, and Bruno Mars each received six nominations. Lil Wayne, Skrillex, and Radiohead all earned five nominations.

A total of 78 awards were presented following the Academy’s decision to restructure the Grammy Award categories. Paul McCartney received the MusiCares Person of the Year award on February 10, 2012, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, two nights prior to the Grammy telecast.LL Cool J is set to host the show. It is the first time in seven years that the event will have an official host.

On February 8, 2012, the Academy announced that the 54th Grammy Pre-Telecast Ceremony will stream live internationally. The show took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center and was streamed live in its entirety internationally at Grammy’s official website and CBS Television Network. The ceremony was co-hosted by Dave Koz and MC Lyte. A total of 68 awards was presented in the Pre-Telecast ceremony. This year’s official poster is designed by Architect Frank Gehry.

The night before the awards, Whitney Houston died in Los Angeles, and show producers quickly planned a tribute, with Jennifer Hudson performing. The awards show began with a Bruce Springsteen performance followed by a LL Cool J prayer for Whitney Houston. Adele, with six nominations, won all six awards, tying the record for most wins by a female artist in one night with Beyoncé. Foo Fighters and Kanye West followed with earning five and four awards, respectively.

 

Whitney Houston ruled as pop music’s queen and the first person to reach #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with seven consecutive singles. All of her top 10 hits reached #1. These are her biggest hits.

1. “I Will Always Love You” – 1992

2. “Greatest Love Of All” – 1986

3. “How Will I Know” – 1985

4. “All the Man That I Need” – 1990

5. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – 1987

6. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” – 1988

7. “Didn’t We Almost Have It All?” – 1987

8. “Saving All My Love For You” – 1985

9. “I’m Your Baby Tonight” – 1990

10. “So Emotional” – 1987