ASUS Transformer Prime Now Available For Pre-order In The UK

by Roy Alugbue on
tagged , , ,

So you’re coveting that oh-so fast quad-core tablet, but loathe the waiting period before getting your gritty mitts on one? Well kids, you’re one step closer to owning the ASUS Transformer Prime. Clove UK has just announced they’ve begun taking pre-orders of the 32GB and 64GB variations of the attractive tablet for the not-too unreasonable price of £550 including VAT. You can check the link below for more details. I’m sure many of you will.

[via Clove Blog UK]

Google Includes New Movie Search Enhancements

by Roy Alugbue on
tagged , , ,

Those developers at Google are certainly on a roll. They just keep throwing one enhancement after another– and now they come with another cool and nifty feature on deck. They’ve just made it even faster and easier to discover movies, showtimes and theaters– all from your smartphone! When you search for movies or your favorite theater like AMC Loews in New York City on 34th Street on Google.com from your phone, you’ll see interactive results for movies in a new swipeable ribbon, with the most relevant information displayed at the top of the page. All of this is developed to help you quickly browse what’s playing in theaters now– no need to wait for a page to load or to use the back button.

To learn more about a movie, it’s a simple process. You tap the movie title to find details like the full summary. You can even view the official trailer and buy tickets directly from your smartphone by tapping on underlined showtimes!

Be sure to give this neat new feature a shot on your Android smartphone. All you do is visit Google.com, search for movies or your local theater and see the cool addition in action!

[via Google Mobile Blog]

Amazon Kindle Fire review: Is it for you?

by Robert Nazarian on

Amazon recently jumped into the tablet game with a vengeance. With decent specs, their name, and a price tag of $199, there’s no question they are going to sell a lot of these. The question is if you should jump in on the craze? Here is my full review, but you can also checkout my initial hands on video.

Design:

The Kindle Fire shares the same designer as the BlackBerry PlayBook so it’s no surprise they resemble each other. The Fire is solid, but pardon the pun, it feels like book in respect to its weight. It weighs a whopping 413 grams which is 68 grams heavier than the similar sized Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Even with the extra weight, I will say its comfortable in the hands. You won’t find any physical buttons, except for the power button, which is at the bottom. I found this to be odd as very few devices place it there, so I had a hard time getting used to it. The speaker placement is at the top (when holding it in portrait mode), but when watching a movie the speakers move to the left side which isn’t a big ideal.

Hardware:

The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch (1024 x 600) IPS display, 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB for storage (about 6GB usable), 4400mAh battery, microUSB, 3.5mm stereo audio jack, and WiFi. You won’t find a camera or a microSD slot for extra storage. The lack of a camera is not a problem, but the lack of being able to increase storage is a big issue.

Battery:

The 4400mAh battery performs adequately. You will need to charge it once or twice a week depending on how much you use it. You will get roughly 7 to 8  hours of video or reading time, which is not as good as the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, but not all that bad.

Performance:

The lack of memory is an issue with the Kindle Fire. 512MB RAM is simply not enough as it can hesitate at times. I have seen other devices with the same memory perform better, so it’s possible the forked Android software is a factor. I think most consumers won’t have too many complaints though. The real question will be how it performs after 6 months of usage. Many lower end devices seem great out of the box, but over time can get bogged down. I suspect that this will be an issue, especially with the lack of memory and the fact that it shows sluggishness so early on.

Software:

The software is what separates the Kindle Fire from other Android devices. Amazon doesn’t promote “Android” at all, and most people won’t know it’s an Android device unless someone tells them. You may have seen UI skins like Sense, Touchwiz, and Blur (I didn’t call it that), but this is a complete fork job of the Android OS. There isn’t much to customize on the main screen except for your favorite apps, which are shown at the bottom. The top of the home screen has a horizontal display of icons for Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and the Web. The Fire is simple enough for anyone to pick up and figure out how to open up a book, watch a video, or checkout apps. This was really key for Amazon and they nailed it. A lot of Kindle Fire purchasers are going to be new to this type of technology and this UI won’t be daunting.

Is it for you:

Now its time to decide whether you should buy one or not. If the Kindle Fire was a pure Android tablet, or at least Android with a simple UI skin, I would have no issues in recommending it. My problem with it is that Amazon has decided to take Android and make their own ecosystem. Since Android is open and free, they have that right to do this, but it does cause complications for some users. For example, if you already have an Android phone, it doesn’t make sense to buy a Kindle Fire because the Android Market isn’t available to you on it. If you purchase an app from the Android Market, you will have to re-purchase the app for the Kindle Fire using the Amazon Appstore. That is if you are lucky enough to find it. There over 300,000 apps in the Android Market, but the Amazon Appstore doesn’t even have 25% of that. This is going to cause a lot of confusion for consumers.

Right now I can hear the hackers yelling out, “You can root it and put the Android Market on yourself or even install CyanogenMod.” Yes, that’s all true, but this article is for the average consumer, and the average consumer is not going to buy a Kindle Fire to hack.

Others might argue that they plan on buying the Fire for mostly reading, and apps aren’t a big deal. If that’s the case, then go get yourself a basic Kindle Touch for $99 and call it a day. The Kindle Fire is not an eReader as some have suggested. This is a tablet. As long as you can watch video, listen to music, download apps, and browse the Web it gets classified as a tablet in my opinion.

Going back to someone who already has an Android phone and who wants to buy a tablet (something more than just for reading) I can only recommend buying an Android tablet. The good news is that the Amazon ecosystem will still be available to any other Android tablet. You can still install the Amazon Appstore for your Free App of the day and you can still get access to the Kindle store for books. The Amazon MP3 store and cloud music player are also available. The one issue would be the instant video service which isn’t available in the Android Market, but you can still install it on your Android device with this apk file. The only real issue is price. The Kindle Fire costs $199, and most Android tablets are $399 and higher. There are options though, like the original Samsung Galaxy Tab which can be bought for $199. Even the ASUS Transformer is selling for $299 in certain places. Yes, that’s $100 more, but it has a 10-inch screen and better specs. There is also the Acer A100 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet A1 for $249. You might have to spend a little more, but you have the full power of Android and often better specs.

So who would I recommend a Kindle Fire to? Your Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, or Grandparents might make the most sense. Basically those that don’t own a smartphone or any other “smart” device. I wouldn’t hesitate in buying one for my Mom because I know she won’t ever have a smartphone. I also can’t stress enough that if you’re only interested in books, then get yourself a Kindle Touch and save $100.

Its simple to me. If someone has an iPhone, I recommend an iPad. If they have an Android phone, I recommend an Android tablet. For Android users, I can’t recommend a Kindle Fire even though technically it’s an Android device. It has a completely different ecosystem, but since that ecosystem is still available to Android users in general, it doesn’t make sense to confuse things. It might cost a little more, but it will be easier to set up and manage your apps. If you don’t have a smartphone and don’t plan on getting one, than go get yourself the Kindle Fire and have a blast.

Androidify Rocks Some Festivity

by Jack Holt on
tagged , , ,

It ’tis the season to update your avatars and Google knows it. Today they released an update to the popular app Androidify that adds brand new winter gear to the mix. They include candy canes and mittens all the way to 2012 New Years glasses. If you have the app already head over to the Android Market to update otherwise hit the link or QR code below to rock your Android festivity! » Read the rest

Download the New Motorola XYBoard Wallpapers Now

by Stacy Bruce on
tagged , , , ,

In case you were wondering what the new Motorola DROID XYBoard wallpapers look like (because the DROID line always comes up with some snazzy ones), they are now available for your downloading pleasure. A couple of them are repeats but some of the new ones are pretty bitchin’. Hit up the download link below to get the whole shebang or jump past the cut to grab one (or all) of the 5 from the gallery. So.. what are you waiting for? Go get your XYBoard on!

Also, don’t forget that you can get these wallpapers on the actual device they were made for! Today, Verizon started taking XYBoard tablet orders online and will they will be available in-store on Monday, Dec. 12.

xyboardwallsDL.zip

» Read the rest

Nvidia Looks to Set Bar High With Tegra 3 Optimized Shadowgun, Also Features Controller Support

by Jack Holt on
tagged , , , , ,

Nvidia had themselves a very successful year when it came to Tegra 2 devices. In nearly all tablets and some of the greatest phones of 2011, their Tegra 2 processors brought mobile gaming into the modern age. From a basic viewpoint, Nvidia brought console quality gaming to mobile devices. However, given that competition continously grows, Nvidia needed something cutting edge to stay top dog in the new year. Enter Shadowgun and Tegra 3.

For those of you that live under a rock and don’t know about this fantastic game, it is a Tegra 2 optimized shooter that came out with critical acclaim. One of the best looking games on the market, Shadowgun set the bar high for mobile 3D games everywhere. If you are interested in reading our review on it, I recommend going here. It appears Nvidia looks to set the bar even higher with a Tegra 3 optimized version of the game. As Nvidia puts it:

“The Tegra 3-optimized version of Shadowgun features console-quality water, enhanced rag-doll physics, particle effects, enhanced shaders and dynamic textures. These are only possible using Tegra 3’s multi-core capabilities, and they make for a truly immersive and realistic gaming experience.”

If you aren’t convinced, I recommend checking out the video after the break. Right now the only way to experience the new optimizations is to go out and buy the Transformer Prime when it becomes available. Just so you are also aware, Tegra 3 has support for PS3, Wii, and other controllers and HDMI mirroring so playing on the big screen like you would any other console game more than doable.

Those that are interested should, again, surely hit the break below to check out the video. Given that the Transformer Prime is supposedly 10 days away from being released, there is only a little bit of time before we can experience the gaming goodness that is Tegra 3. What about you guys? Is this something that is worth dropping a few hundred on a new Tegra 3 tablet for?

» Read the rest

Motorola poised to ban iOS devices in Europe

by Jim Farmer on
tagged , , , , ,

Big news for Android this morning, and perhaps a lesson in karma. Motorola has successfully sued Apple in Germany and thereby blazed the trail for a sales ban on all iOS devices for the entirety of Europe.

This is Motorola’s first win in two patent infringement cases brought up against Apple in April, and it grants them injunction against all infringing products including the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the original iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The iPhone 4S isn’t specifically mentioned but this is likely due to the filing being made in April.

The patent in the suit relates to core cellular technology and is described in the court document as “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”. So long as thee ruling is upheld, Apple has to either remove this technology from their devices or pay Motorola a hefty licensing fee, and they may even have to provide payment for past infringement.

Motorola Mobility is now in the prime position of deciding whether or not they will enforce this ban immediately. Apple will of course appeal, but Moto can proceed with injunction right now if they so choose. A $134 million bond is all that stands in their way, in case the verdict is overturned in appeal. Apple wanted the bond set at whopping $2.7 billion, citing the massive losses they would take, but  the judge sided with Motorola.

You know what they say. What goes around comes around.

thanks Johannes
[via Gizmodo]

 

Another blow for Apple, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban in Australia is no more

by Robert Nazarian on
tagged ,

The Holiday season is treating Samsung good this year as they just scored a second major victory over Apple. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will go back on sale in Australia thanks to a decision by an Australian court lifting the 4 month ban.

Apple has accused Samsung of “slavishly” ripping off its designs, and the two giants have been involved in a bitter battle that has visited 10 countries.

Last week, Samsung had another major victory when a U.S. court denied Apple a preliminary injunction blocking the Tab 10.1 in the U.S. Even with this early success, Samsung still set aside $200 million for legal battles thanks to Apple. Of course, this will end up stifling innovation and cost the consumer.

Recently, Samsung has taken this battle outside the courtrooms with a marketing campaign mocking iPhone fanboys and fangirls.

The war is far from over, but it’s refreshing to see Samsung winning a few.

[via reuters]

 

 

ZTE Tablet Passes Through FCC Trials

by Spencer McClendon on
tagged , , , ,

Do you remember the ZTE Tablet we told you about back in September? If not,  read this and catch up. OK, now that we are all up to speed, it looks as if ZTE has come through with making it a reality. The V66 just passed through the FCC, and has the 4G LTE stamp on the back, meaning it is heading for Verizon. Sprint will be getting the V55, so this must be Verizon’s version of the same tablet. There isn’t too much more information to give about it’s journey through the FCC, but we will be keeping our eye on ZTE as they make their way into the U.S. market. Who is ready to have 4-cores? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

[FCC]