Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Apple storms past HP to lead global PC market

Canalys has announced that Apple, after reporting stellar results, became the leading worldwide client PC vendor in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple shipped over 15 million iPads and five million Macs, representing 17% of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally in the fourth quarter. Overall, the total client PC market, including desktops, netbooks, notebooks, and pads grew 16% on-year. Excluding pads, the client PC market declined 0.4%. The floods in Thailand, that impacted hard drive assembly plants, caused mild disruption to shipments during the quarter, but the side effects are likely to be felt in the first half of 2012.
Among the other top five PC vendors, only Lenovo managed to increase its market share, by a relatively modest two points, compared to Apple's six-point gain over the same quarter a year ago. Acer, Dell and HP – the hardest hit – all lost market share. Now the second largest client PC vendor worldwide, HP will struggle to compete with Apple following the end of its Touchpad.
"Currently, HP is pursuing a Windows strategy for its pad portfolio, producing enterprise-focused products, such as the recently launched Slate 2, until the launch of Windows 8," said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. "However, questions remain over Microsoft's entry into the consumer pad space. 

While early demonstrations of the Window 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource intensive."
Lenovo continued to close the gap on HP, thanks to successful investment outside of core markets. The acquisition of Medion in Germany helped Lenovo double its shipments in Western Europe during the second half of 2011. The vendor's decision to use Android for enterprise and consumer pads gives it a better opportunity than HP to continue gaining market share.
Dell placed fourth among the top five PC vendors, followed by Acer. Acer's shipments continued to decline, as a result of the pad's impact on the netbook market. It did, however, make headlines at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, when it revealed its S5 Ultrabook. Unsurprisingly, Acer and other vendors have been quick to announce their support for the new ultrabook form factor, with the view of driving innovation and renewed customer interest in notebooks.
"We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign," said Canalys Research Analyst Michael Kauh. "In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple's annual iPad refresh approaching."
Pads accounted for 22% of total PC shipments during the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition to Apple's strong performance, the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet by Barnes and Noble boosted volumes in the US market, allowing both vendors to claim spots among the top five worldwide pad makers, in second and fifth place respectively.

All regions grew on-year with the inclusion of pads. Excluding pads, however, shipments in Europe, Middle East and Africa and North America declined, due to weaker consumer demand in Western Europe and the US, despite the traditional fourth-quarter sales periods. Vendors and channel partners took a cautious approach to inventory levels in the fourth quarter, as many had expected a slow quarter. Notebook volumes grew slightly, at approximately 1% in these regions, but continued their impressive rise in Asia Pacific and Latin America, as more consumers embraced mobile computing.
"The consumerization of IT continues to be a significant disruptive force in the PC industry, but many of the leading vendors have failed to capitalize on the trend to date," said Coulling. "This year will be a pivotal year for those vendors that were slow to launch pads. It is not just the product that they need to get right, business models are equally important - driving revenues from content delivery can help vendors reach lower price points in a market that is incredibly price sensitive."

Sky will launch an internet based TV service in the UK

Sky has just announced its quarterly results, and despite adding 100,000 subscribers as well as notching its "highest ever first-half adjusted operating profit" it will launch a new internet TV service, available to anyone in the country with a broadband connection. Sky describes the new over the top (OTT) service as being aimed at the 13 million UK households who don't currently subscribe to pay TV, with access available via "PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, games console or connected TV." Initially, it will offer Sky Movies on demand joined by sports and entertainment options later, with access based on either monthly unlimited subscription or "pay-as-you-go" pricing. As far as the company's basic services, it will continue to develop its existing Sky-Go product for standard pay-TV subscribers and zeebox ipad companion App although this seems to initially be a worthy competitor for things like Lovefilm and the recent arrival of Netflix in the U.K.
Sky are worried about Netfix,Lovefilm eating into there profits and with the cheap options of the former its no surprise..plus the fact that most T/V vendors are offering these apps ready to go on most T,Vs,and Sky wish to do the same in the u.k of course.

Some good news from Sky Finally `Android Go` will arrive on Google's platform in February. It will also have new channels, including Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Arts, plus, of course, the new Sky Sports F1 Channel . The company is also expanding its broadband reach, with plans to cover a million more homes by June 2013, and add a Sky Broadband Unlimited Fibre option. For 20 a month, it offers 40 megabit download speed with no usage caps based on BT Fibre.

Windows 8 on ARM Beta In Febuary

ARM are in the new again today Multiple sources stated Monday that the ARM-native version of Windows 8 is in good enough shape to reach developers in February. The release was deemed "quite stable" by contacts at WaVw@4 hardware Partners to anticipate a release sometime in February. There was no indication that Microsoft planned to separate the Intel- and ARM-based versions of Windows.

Going to ARM might also provide major savings beyond what was thought. A "high-profile" piece of hardware using Intel Chips at CES this month would supposedly cost "hundreds of dollars less" with an ARM equivalent. The big-name company making the ARM hardware didn't have to change any design elements.

ARM isn't likely to be part of the public beta, since very few have ARM-based tablets that could reliably install the test version. Although pointing out the mostly obvious, legacy Intel-only apps wouldn't run on ARM tablets, although HTML5-based apps will.

A timely ARM release would be key to boosting credibility for Windows 8 tablets. Concerns have existed that the new addition to Windows' hardware support would perpetually be second-tier to the Intel version. Running on significantly cheaper hardware could also prevent a chronic problem with Intel-based Windows tablets, where even choosing a low-end Atom processor can mean a price $100 to $200 above what an iPad costs.

Thx:T.E.N Team

Acer to go into attack mode in 2012

Acer has already adjusted its strategy from purely defending its position in the market in 2011 to attacking the market in 2012 and the company will push four major product segments this year - ultrabook, notebook, tablet PC and smartphone, Acer chairman JT Wang stated at the company's ceremony for the Lunar New Year.
Among the four major segments, Acer will be most aggressive about ultrabooks and is set to launch four new models in the second quarter and in the third quarter, Acer plans to launch models with a price of US$699-799.

For the future, Acer president Jim Wong pointed out that the company will adopt a passive strategy over pricing and will no longer compete through price with user experience and demand to become the new the major selling points.
As for the tablet PC market, Wang believes that the high-end and low-end segments are being dominated by Apple and Amazon, respectively and Acer will focus on the US$299-499 mid-range price market, a segment with estimated shipment scale of about 10-20 million units.
As for netbooks, although developed countries are believed to start turning their interests to ultrabook, since the model's shipment volume in the emerging countries will continue to grow, Acer will be able to maintain its 45% worldwide market share, noted Wong adding that netbook and ultrabook will be merged into one segment within the next 18-24 months.

ARM boosts profits by almost 50 percent

The British chip designer continued last year's growth streak with a 47 percent surge in quarterly pre-tax profits compared to Q4 2010. Revenues also rose 34 percent to £113.9 million ($180 million) -- not bad for a company that started out with twelve engineers in a barn.
ARM continues to grow in all areas of the tech market and i can only see more success..sorry Intel..as ARM continues its growth into new products like Windows 8.

Panasonic Lumix `ZS20` Slim But Powerful

Compact digital cameras are dime a dozen, and it has been rather hard picking out a clear winner from the many models in a particular product category all these years, and even with Panasonic’s most recent release, the Panasonic Lumix ZS20, life has not gotten any easier either. Still, the show must go on, and here is what the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 has on offer for those looking for a pocket-sized digital camera to capture all those tender moments in life. First of all, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 is billed to be the “slimmest digital camera with a 20X zoom lens”, where it measures 1.1″ thin, and has a new low-light-optimized CMOS sensor, physical as well as touchscreen controls, and in-camera GPS functions.

Thanks to the Lumix ZS20′s optically stabilized 20X-optical-zoom lens, it is capable of reaching from 24mm wide-angle to 480mm telephoto, and will boast a newly designed 14-megapixel CMOS sensor which is capable of supporting a handful of new features. According to Panasonic, the new imager will come with a couple of noise reduction features, resulting in crisper shots, while the speedier, 120-frames-per-second autofocus system is capable of locking in on objects within a tenth of a second. Not only that, it can shoot 1080p AVCHD video at 60 fps, in addition to 1080p MP4 recording at 30 fps. Expect to fork out $350 for the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 when it arrives this March.

Kobee Jin Yong E-Reader Has a Mirasol Display

At the Taipei International Book Fair, Qualcomm has  announced that Kobee has selected the Mirasol display technology for their Jin Yong Reader (the reader has been named after Jin Young, a popular author in China ). The tablet features a 5.7″ 1024×768 Mirasol display, a 1GHz SnapDragon S2 processor and a customized Android 2.3. This device looks just like the Bambook Sunfire that i saw at C.E.S.

If you are not familiar with the Mirasol display technology, it has some of the advantages of e-Ink, which consumes power only when pixels change, and some strengths of LCD, as it is in color and has a refresh rate which is fast enough for basic screen animations. At the moment, Mirasol has been used to power “super eBooks”, but not to replace conventional LCDs – yet.

I remember Mirasol starting out with tiny screens just a few of years ago, and at CES we had an opportunity to play the same 5.7″ display on a device just like this one. The screen was good enough to display movies, but the image quality and refresh rates were not yet suitable for “entertainment”, although it would be fine for “education”. At this point, it’s not clear what the pricing is going to be likebut ill pring more news when i get it.

Monday, 30 January 2012

JMC Soundboard speaker combines art and technology

Wood has typically been the material of choice when crafting speakers due to their inherent acoustic features, and the JMC Soundboard (pictured above), crafted by master guitar builder Jeanmichel Capt, seems to have managed to blur the lines between technology and art. These speakers are apparently handcrafted out of wood, spruce to be exact, from felled 350-year old trees in the Swiss Risoud Forest.
Due to the thin nature of these speakers and its convex surface, the JMC Soundboard apparently responds well to vibrations and supposedly does a good job at dispersing sound in a room. It measures 89 x 89 x 21cm, has an impedance of 8 Ohms, a frequency range of 25Hz-25,000Hz, power output of 2 x 80W and weighs 12kg. The JMC Soundboard will also be available in a variety of different colors and finishes if the natural look of wood isn’t to your liking. With its design, choice of material and the fact that it has been handcrafted, we guess we can’t say we’re surprised to learn that customers can expect to pay $6,530 for the JMC Soundboard. 

T-Mobile U.K Offers TRUE Unlimited Voice,Call,Data Packages

T-Mobile U.K has announced a new, truly-unlimited plan – The Full Monty – with no “fair-use” restrictions for heavy voice, text and data users. Set to accept new subscribers from February 1, the 24-month agreement also includes unlimited tethering, allowing you to use your phone as a way to get your tablet or laptop online without paying extra or running into caps.

The Full Monty plan will kick off at £36 ($54) per month, though that will only include unlimited calls to other T-Mobile UK subscribers. Calls to other networks will come under a 2,000 minute limit. You’ll have to pay £41 ($64) per month or above to get truly unlimited calls across all the networks.
T-Mobile will also offer various smartphones on the plans, including the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Sensation XE and BlackBerry 9900. Some will be offered free with a new agreement, and others will require an upfront charge of up to £99, tariff depending. Finally, there’ll be unlimited WiFi access through BT Openzone.
Unlimited used to truly mean unlimited in the UK, until carriers grew cautious at the increasing scale of voice call, text and data adoption and applied “fair-use” policies and caps.

Rival carrier `3` already offers unlimited data in the UK, and we’re hoping other carriers will follow suit.

Kindles `Fire` Sees Blazing Sales Numbers..

Ive had a `Kindle fire` for sometime now and for the money its an excellent introduction to the Android tablet experience..but not the best.Build quality is only good..not great and Amazon have got some way to go to get the software side of things up to scratch on the `Fire`.
But Amazons marketing and its sales push-through from its E-readers has really got the public enthusiasm and has put matches to the Fire..

New user statistics show the Amazon Kindle Fire is already taking over the Android tablet space. Android tablet makers should better fear the Kindle.
Android tablet makers have been chasing the leader of the tablet pack, the iPad, for two years. New numbers that have been recently been collected show that the Amazon Kindle Fire is already taking over the Android tablet space. Samsung and friends better be fearing the Kindle Fire, not the iPad.
According to the new numbers from Flurry, the Kindle Fire has already dominated the Android tablet space, and not by a small margin. Tablet statistics are often questioned, as they usually track unit shipments and not sales. Flurry’s numbers avoid that by tracking end user application sessions over time. These are strictly measuring what device is being used for actual user sessions, so the statistics are useful when comparing devices.

In November of last year, Samsung ruled the Android tablet roost with a full 63 percent of all end user sessions. The next three most used Android tablets, Acer Iconia Tab, Motorola XOOM, and ASUS Transformer Prime, only accounted for 30 percent of user sessions combined. The Kindle Fire was only used for a measly 3 percent of sessions, as it had only just arrived in town.
Fast forward to January of this year, only three months, and the numbers tell a vastly different story. The Samsung Galaxy Tab now only represents 36 percent of all user sessions, a giant drop. The Acer, Motorola, and ASUS now only account for 18 percent combined. The Amazon Kindle Fire, on the other hand, has now grabbed 36 percent of the end user application sessions. That’s in less than three months.
Perhaps the most telling statistic in this analysis has to do with the Holy Grail of app developers, the paid app figures. When Flurry compares the Galaxy Tab family with the Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire generated a whopping 2.5 times more paid app downloads than the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Amazon is firmly whooping the Android tablet pack in every category that matters, in only a few months.
With so many OEMs making Android tablets, they are really competing with each other more than with Apple’s iPad. There are only so many sales to go around, and if the first three months are any indication the Kindle Fire is going to kick every Android tablet to the curb.
Thx: James Kendrick

New EVF makes it clear: the optical viewfinder’s days are numbered

MicroOLED has developed a new electronic a new Viewfinder that could address some of the standout complaints about not going optical. The OLED panel has five million square dots and can show a 1280x1024 image in its just over 0.6-inch view. Its resolution is higher than the 1024x768 of today's best EVFs and has no gap between pixels, leading to a seamless effect.

Although not directly confirmed, it appears to use RGBW (red, green, blue, white) sub-pixels and not only avoids the 'fuzzy' effect of RGBG but produces overall better quality. MicroOLED is touting a 96 percent color uniformity and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio that are both higher than on Sony's NEX-oriented viewfinder. The two could present a more accurate view of scenes with very bright or very dark elements.

While shy on when it will be shipping products the company is clear that its viewfinder will be in public-facing products. It expects both pro cameras and camcorders to use the viewfinder as well as night vision goggles and even head-mounted displays for surgeons.

Lenovo's 14-inch IdeaPad Y470p Released with Radeon HD 7690M GPU

IdeaPad Y470p The 14-inch notebook swaps out NVIDIA's low-end GeForce GT 520M video of the regular Y470 for a mid-range AMD Radeon HD 7690M, giving it an edge in 3D games. The 2.2GHz quad Core i7 and 8GB of RAM help keep the system running at full pace.
The system also fits a 750GB hard drive and USB 3.0 input. Most of the sacrifices include a short battery life, which tops out at four hours, and the 1366x768 display resolution. At just under 4.9 pounds, the Y470p is heavy relative to its screen size, although lighter than most full-size 15-inch systems.
Lenovo's trimming helps make the new IdeaPad one of the less expensive gaming-friendly systems available, at $799 without having to pick any options. Orders made as of Saturday ship by February 13

Barnes & Noble Poised To Announce A Fifth Nook Device Soon

Leave it to the New York Times to stuff a zinger like this in a three-page piece on the future of the publishing industry; it looks like Barnes & Noble is set to announce a new Nook device come this Spring. This will be B&N's fifth Nook device, following the Nook Tablet.

 From the New York Times:

Barnes & Noble is trying to strike at Amazon with another device. At its labs in Silicon Valley last week, engineers were putting final touches on their fifth e-reading device, a product that executives said would be released sometime this spring. (A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)
The million dollar question is what, exactly, Barnes & Noble is cooking up. Historically, the full-color Nooks have been announced and released in the fall, smack dab in the middle of the holiday buying season. Both of the e-ink versions were released in June with announcements made in late Spring. If history repeats itself, we may be looking at a follow-up to the Nook Simple Touch.
On the other hand, the e-ink category isn't really conducive to innovation. E-ink readers are designed for simplicity, so adding new features doesn't add too much value. Web browsers, for example, are difficult to use for anything but basic reading on e-ink screens.

Meanwhile, the Nook Tablet is facing some fresh competition from the Kindle Fire. The Nook Tablet has done remarkably well, however, with sales numbers in the millions since its release in November. However,Amazon is brand new to the color tablet game, and at a $50 discount over the comparable Nook Tablet, B&N should be keeping a wary eye on the Fire. An update to the color tablet family might not go amiss, if executed properly.

Then again, perhaps the fifth device will be something new entirely. We are talking about the company that built a dual-screen device with both e-ink and color touchscreen displays. Perhaps B&N will come up with yet another new category.
Further still, the yet-to-be-unveiled Nook device may just be a spec boost to the Nook Simple Touch. No one knows, aside from that Barnes & Noble spokeswoman, but she's not saying...But we will have some news soon..

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Windows 8 tablets In A Crowded Market

Having used, and I mean really used tablets for a decade, I am excited and concerned about the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Especially the ones running on a real mobile platform, ARM. I know Microsoft is putting a tremendous effort into getting Windows 8 on ARM as good as can be, but my experience with tablets tells me there are some significant obstacles in the way to make them succeed.

Form Factor
I used one tablet or another full-time for years in my consulting business, and that experience drives home what any tablet needs to have a chance at success in the market. Tablets are used for long periods in the hands, and that means only thin and light slates. Bulky tablets are too uncomfortable to hold for extended sessions, especially once the device starts approaching two pounds in weight.
There are several reasons why the most popular tablets to date have been accepted well in the market, and a comfortable form factor is way up there. When a tablet starts approaching or exceeds that two pound limit, it is increasingly uncomfortable to use and hold. This is a killer in the mainstream market, as no one wants to pay good money for something that is not comfortable to use. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Even if a tablet maker produces a slate that is sufficiently thin and light, the overall size of the device will affect the acceptance in the market. This means even though Windows 8 will support screens bigger than 10 inches, I don’t believe there is a market for them. The bigger the screen, the harder a tablet is to hold and use, and it gets back to that comfort factor. While some folks are anxious for Windows 8 tablets to appear with screens of 11 inches or larger, I don’t think the mainstream will buy them.

We are already seeing convertible notebooks demonstrated, and I think those will not be successful. Those are nothing new, they’ve existed for years and not attracted the attention of most buyers. The exception may be Windows 8 tablets that detach from a keyboard dock, like the ASUS Transformer Prime running Android, but only if the tablet portion meets all the form factor requirements described in this article. They must be mobile tablets first, with (optional) laptop capabilities second.

There are a lot of tablet makers building Android tablets, and they are very familiar with the need to differentiate product in a crowded market. This will affect the Windows 8 tablet field, too, as OEMs will all be using the same OS.
As more Windows 8 tablets come to market, the need for OEMs to make individual products stand out will be significant. They can achieve this through unique design, but history shows us they will likely try to accomplish this through hardware. This will either be by cramming more hardware in the tablet, or by going with something like a bigger screen.
Cramming more hardware inside won’t do them any favors, as the tablet market has already demonstrated it doesn’t care about technical stuff. Android tablet makers have been dealing with this already, and discovered that consumers don’t line up for the tablet with more stuff inside. This is going to be the case with Windows 8 tablets, so differentiation will be harder to accomplish.
Tablets with bigger screens will fail due to the form factor situation already mentioned. Sure there will be specific cases where a bigger screen on a tablet might be better, but we’re talking niche markets. Those are not the target for Microsoft nor OEMs, as tablets in vertical markets have already failed to generate significant sales for years. Any company that actively targets such markets are almost guaranteed to fail, if I may be so bold, as they’ve already been targeted with Tablet PCs and not successfully.
It will make more sense to differentiate Windows 8 tablets through software, and that’s where the development effort better be directed. With tablets due to appear this year, that development effort better already be underway by the major tablet makers.
It is critical that OEMs (and Microsoft) not forget that Windows tablets are nothing new. They have been around for a decade, and have not set any sales records. While Windows 8 tablets running mobile hardware will no doubt be better than those Tablet PCs of old, mainstream consumers will have to be shown that clearly.
Those who think that the main competition for Windows 8 tablets will not be the iPad nor Android tablets better wake up. That is exactly the competition that will affect how well Windows tablets do in the market. If companies are depending on the presence of Windows to be the big selling point, I predict a massive (and rapid) failure in the market. The only market for which that really can be a selling point is the enterprise, and iPads and Android tablets are already appearing there in increasing numbers. Plus, those markets are niche markets compared to the massive mainstream consumer market, and not significant enough to guarantee success.

Since Windows 8 tablets will be competing directly with Android and the iPad, price will be very important to guarantee success. Products launching at prices similar to the iPad or Android tablets will not find a receptive audience, and those that debut at higher prices will fail miserably. As mentioned earlier, it’s not about the hardware nor technical specifications, it’s about ease of use and price point.
I am willing to make a bold prediction that any Windows 8 tablet hitting the market for more than $400 will languish on the shelves. They need to be even cheaper than that to get mainstream consumers to buy them instead of existing alternatives. That may seem harsh but I believe it is accurate.

Windows 8 on tablets is looking really exciting so far, but to get sales numbers that matter they have to take on the iPad and Android tablets head-on. That means similar form factors, better pricing, and have compelling differences that attract buyers.
More of the same in the Windows tablets, which have been around for over ten years, will not cut it. These will need to be mobile tablets first, and Windows computers second. The market that will buy these solely because they run Windows is very small, and won’t make a splash as desired.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A 'Rose' Made of Galaxies

In celebration of the twenty-first anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's deployment in April 2011, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute pointed Hubble's eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light.

The smaller, nearly edge-on companion shows distinct signs of intense star formation at its nucleus, perhaps triggered by the encounter with the companion galaxy.

A series of uncommon spiral patterns in the large galaxy is a tell-tale sign of interaction. The large, outer arm appears partially as a ring, a feature seen when interacting galaxies actually pass through one another. This suggests that the smaller companion actually dived deep, but off-center, through UGC 1810. The inner set of spiral arms is highly warped out of the plane with one of the arms going behind the bulge and coming back out the other side. How these two spiral patterns connect is still not precisely known.

The interaction was imaged on Dec. 17, 2010, with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

This Hubble image is a composite of data taken with three separate filters on WFC3 that allow a broad range of wavelengths covering the ultraviolet, blue and red portions of the spectrum.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Friday, 27 January 2012

Reprogrammable magnetic fluids lets you feel virtual keyboard physically

A virtual keyboard is just that – technically speaking, you are not supposed to be able to feel the keys when your fingers glide all over them as you type in the necessary characters to form that long Word document, right? Not so if Apple has their way, perhaps some time down the road. It seems that Apple did apply for a patent which details a system that employs coded magnets and ferrofluids, resulting in haptic feedback on a touchscreen or virtual keyboard. For example, a coded magnet could be activated when a proximity sensor detects a finger approaching a touchpad or other surface that is full well capable of detecting a touch. Within a certain closeness, the proximity sensor’s output will kick start a coded magnet located beneath the portion of the surface that is about to be impacted. This coded magnet will then draw ferrofluid to it, which means the upper portion of the surface will rise. I do hope that the technology is fast enough to accommodate all of you speed typists out there, otherwise it would be a really awkward situation.

Schneider Optics iPro Lens System for the iPhone 4+4s

Photography enthusiasts, if you are looking to take your iPhone photography (or iPhotography/iPhoneography) to the next level, it seems that there is no shortage of accessory manufacturers who are out there coming up with innovative but functional photography accessories for the discerning iPhone photographer out there. Adding to that list would be Schneider Optics with their brand new iPro Lens System designed for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
If the image above did not already give it away, the iPro Lens System is a casing for the iPhone 4/4S which allows users to attach lenses over the default iPhone camera lens. In the case of the photo above, we are looking at an iPhone with the wide angle lens attached to it. In addition to the wide angle lens, a fish eye lens is also available for those who are taken by the funky distorted images that are achieved with the fish eye lens.
The standard iPro Lens System will set you back $199 and will come with both the wide angle and fish eye lens, a casing on which the user mounts the lenses, and a handle which does triple duty a casing for the lenses and a tripod mount adapter as well. At the moment it would appear that only two lenses are available, so here’s hoping to seeing a zoom lens and a macro lens find its way into Schneider Optics’ store in the future.

Google Music Now Lets You Download All Your Saved Music

One of our biggest complaints about Google Music was that you couldn't re-download any songs you'd added to your online library. Google's now brought this feature for the web interface and the Music Manager app, so you can download your music—whether it's your entire library or just a few tracks—with the click of a button.
This works for purchased music and songs you've uploaded yourself, though you can only download purchased tracks two times from the web interface. To do it, just click the triangle next to a song or group of songs and choose "Download Selected Songs". If you want to download your whole library, open up the Music Manager app for Windows, OS X, or Linux, go to the Download tab, and click "Export Your Library". You can do this as many times as you want, regardless of whether you've hit the limit for downloading purchased tracks or not. Hit the link to read more.
That was by far my biggest complain about the service and now that Google has solved that I’m quite comfortable with buying music from the service. Head here for instructions and here for the confirmation.

ACTA Signed By 22 EU Countries, Still A Fight To Be Ratified In EU Parliament

At a signing ceremony in Tokio, representatives from the European Union and 22 member states have signed the controversial ACTA treaty. Signatories include the UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. The five remaining member states -- Cyprus, Germany, Estonia Netherlands and Slovakia, are also expected to sign soon.
ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed international treaty that would establish standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights to prevent digital and physical counterfeits. The treaty calls for the creation of an "ACTA committee" to make treaty amendments, for which public or judicial review are not required, according to Wikipedia. The panel would also operate outside of the scope of the World Trade Organizations or the United Nations.
Critics argue about the scope and the undemocratic methods used to pass the treaty. ACTA is said to tilt the balance of International Property Rights unfairly towards the copyright holders, where future disputes on competing interests will benefit to those rights holders while placing a higher criminal burden on individuals. Critics have also protested how the treaty was written by industry representatives and government trade reps, without any access by elected representatives, independent business, the press, public interest groups, legal scholars, independent economists, and others.
Out of Europe, Poland has notably seen the strongest populist support against the bill. Thousands have demonstrated in the streets in opposition, as shown in the video below. An anecdote of how big of an issue this is in Poland, while researching this topic last evening I did a "past hour" search of "ACTA" on Google news to keep up with new developments. Chrome then asked me if I wanted to translate the Google News page from Polish to English, because Polish news covered the whole page.
The fight against ACTA will likely last until summer, where ACTA will need to be ratified in the European Parliament by the countries that have signed. What's become apparent is that ACTA will negatively impact startup companies by increasing the risks copyright trolls can threaten startups with, and will stifle innovation by placing the burden of proof on startup companies.

Android`s Menu Button To be Replaced by the Action Bar

The menu button on Google's Android is all but dead and is to be replaced permanently by the action bar. That's the message from Scott Main, lead tech writer for Developer android.com, who has posted an article advising Android developers to change their ways.
"Honeycomb removed the reliance on physical buttons, and introduced the ActionBar class as the standard solution to make actions from the user options immediately visible and quick to invoke," he wrote. "In order to provide the most intuitive and consistent user experience in your apps, you should migrate your designs away from using the Menu button and toward using the action bar."

The menu button has already been ditched on some Android devices, such as the Ice Cream Sandwich packing Samsung Galaxy Nexus and, going forward, Google wants just three buttons on offer; back, home, and recent apps.
The action bar, that will now see more, er, action is a dedicated area that identifies the options available to the user on specific apps. It sits up top and will mean that Fandroids will need to get used to a new way of interacting with their favourite apps.
If the tasks in hand are too much for the action bar to take, users will see an overflow button on the bottom bar (three dots in a vertical row).
"This might seem like splitting hairs over terminology, but the name action overflow promotes a different way of thinking," explained Main.
"Instead of thinking about a menu that serves as a catch-all for various user options, you should think more about which user options you want to display on the screen as actions. Those that don't need to be on the screen can overflow off the screen."

`Meindl` Continues to Push Its Innovate Boot Range for 2012

Well its Friday and the weekend is nearly here and its time to perhaps put down your tablet,turn the P.C of and turn the mac of..theres some lovely COLD weather around Europe and our friends at `Meindl` wish to tempt you with there New innovative boot range for 2012 to tempt you outside.
Why we have been big fans over the years of  `Meindl` boots this years range seems to have thought of everyone in every situation..

 Meindl Continues to Innovate for 2012
Latest collection boasts technical advances, stylish new designs and updated colours.

For 2012 the Kansas GTX® (SRP £159.99) is now available with a new waxed nubuck upper, giving a stylish overhaul to the boot at a great price point.

A new addition to the Meindl family the Softline Light GTX (SRP £149.99) features a new lightweight lacing system. By removing the metal lacing rings Meindl has saved precious grams – the men’s size 8 is 590g and the ladies’ Softline Lady Light GTX size 4.5 is 490g - while maintaining a price point of £150.

The Borneo 2 MFS (SRP £184.99) is packed with technical features for maximum performance. It’s features include a high rand for protection, speed lacing fittings, Air-Active® technology for optimal ventilation and breathability inside the boot, and a Soft Print drysole footbed to wick moisture away from the foot.

Brand new for 2012 the Cuba GTX has a new slender-look profile to give the shoe a younger feel. This new lighter version of Meindl’s flagship Respond XCR has a new Meindl sole unit that provides more traction and even lighter weight.

Another exciting new addition to the Meindl range is the Barcelona GTX. Providing function in a slender looking shoe, the Barcelona GTX is part of Meindl’s Walk & Travel collection and features a full nubuck leather upper, giving this classic shoe some modern styling.

Finally, Spring/Summer 12 sees additional colours added to the hugely successful Respond Mid - a firm favourite in Meindl’s trail walking range. With added stability and ankle support due to its ‘Mid’ style boot design, the Respond Mid GTX will be available in Dark Brown for this season.

WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo `Fast As Lightning`

Western Digital gave a more formal debut to its first Thunderbolt-equipped drive at Macworld|iWorld on Thursday. The My Book Thunderbolt Duo uses the fast 10Gbps port to feed two 3.5-inch hard drives at speeds that would be impractical for Fire Wire 800. On a 6TB Thunderbolt Duo, peak transfer speeds can hit over 250MBps (2Gbps), making the only bottleneck the drives themselves.

The speeds are potentially vital for video and 3D editors, even on the MacBook Air. WD estimates that a full HD movie can shuttle to or from the drive in 30 seconds. At such speeds, it's comparable to a mid-tier solid-state drive like the own MacBook Air and can create a seamless effect where working from the external drive is as quick as built-in flash storage.
Both 4TB and 6TB capacities will be available, each using a RAID 0 stripe to get the extra speed and continuous space. Although it technically wouldn't require a Mac, Windows-based PCs using true Thunderbolt connectors were only just announced at CES and leave Apple's systems as the only immediate options. Prices and ship dates haven't been fixed...But We here they will be aggressively priced.

Tech Gets Exciting In India, 5 Years Behind China

The only other tech market in Asia that is halfway as exciting as China is India. It has the promise to close the gap with China but is no match yet. India’s mobile market is large, venture spending is vibrant, and high-profile IPOs such as Make My Trip are happening, with more on the way soon from up such swift up and comers as mobile ad service inMobi and PC help center iYogi.

Plus, India has proven it is rich in R&D and a lot more than outsourcing. Even so, red tape and poor infrastructure hold back the entrepreneurial spirit here. Investors Bill Draper, Lip-Bu Tan, and Sumir Chadha did the trailblazing in India. Today India’s venture leaders such as Ashish Gupta and Sudhir Sethi are looking for the next, new thing in mesmerizing India – the world’s second-fastest-growing economy and Asia’s third-largest economy.
At IDG Ventures in Bangalore, I met with Sethi, who is chairman and managing director and runs the tech media company’s $150 million India fund. It’s one of five funds in the IDG Ventures network established by Pat McGovern, the visionary founder and chairman of International Data Group in Boston. If a strategy works in one locale, then IDG works to bring the formula to startups in other places.  China has proven to be a gold mine for IDG, where it’s made multimillion-dollar returns from early investments and successful IPOs of instant-messaging service Tencent and search engine Baidu. India could be next.
During a trip to India, I met founders of startups with advances for everything from detecting lung cancer at an earlier stage to recycling electronic waste in a cost-effective way, to bringing solar power to villagers, to offering superfast mobile searches, to three-dimensional online games, to robotic-powered vacuum cleaners. India’s also become a mecca for low-cost and sometimes jerry-rigged inventions—in Hindi, jugaad. Tata Motors’ tiny Nano car at an itty-bitty price tag of $2,500 and the Indian government-backed tablet computer selling for $35 are some examples. So is my favorite find: a
Nokia cell phone with a built-in flashlight. India may not have a Google, Apple, Baidu, or Tencent yet, but it is moving into more technical work than writing software and answering phone.
Yet India’s entrepreneurial journey is at least five years behind China’s path. There’s no Jack Ma or Robin Li in sight or a big-time IPO like Youku. India lacks the entrepreneurial buzz and fast pace of China tech clusters. Indian entrepreneurship has been led by grassroots efforts, and the government hasn’t always been venture friendly.
If India is ever to break through, it needs to ditch an image as just for outsourcing or low-cost engineering and business services—a major challenge for the world leader of the booming $500 billion global outsourcing market. But India could eventually become a tech minipower and grab some of the limelight from China. Contemporary corporate centers such as Whitefield on the outskirts of Bangalore and the Gurgaon satellite city in Delhi showcase that India is rising.
For sure, India needs a lot more deals with the stature of online travel site MakeMyTrip, a deal that barely gets noticed next to China’s higher-profile Internet home runs. After all, MakeMyTrip listed on NASDAQ in August 2010, nearly seven years after Ctrip, China’s leading travel site, had its own debut.
India’s fast-growing digital communications markets are a catalyst for the subcontinent country’s emerging tech economy. While only 74 million of India’s 1.2 billion people had Internet access in 2010, the number of mobile phones in India surpassed 752 million in 2010, second worldwide only to China’s 842 million users.
What’s also fueling India’s startup engines is a large venture capital pool of $5.8 billion. India is the world’s third-largest venture capital investment market, after the United States and China.
Look-alike Indian startups have gotten funding in all kinds of Internet and mobile plays. For job portals, there’s Monster.com in the United States, 51.com in China, and Naukri in India. Yahoo has SINA in China and Rediff.com in India. In digital mapping, there’s MapQuest in the United States, AutoNavi in Beijing, and MapMyIndia in Delhi. For online payment, there’s PayPal, 99Bill in China, and PayMate in India. The highly popular online gaming sector has sparked multiple copies, too: in India, three up-and-coming players are Kreeda, Nazara, and Games2Win, India’s first online games site.
India’s always-on mobile communications, global customer outreach, engineering talent, and thirst for education all spell promise. China may be a nerve center of tech innovation globally but look to India to close the gap with its creative thinking culture.

Excerpted from Startup Asia, the newly published book from John Wiley & Sons by Rebecca A. Fannin.

Sony Xperia S has anti-stain shell and fast charge capability

The upcoming Sony Xperia S will feature a couple of features that has not been trumpeted widely so far – a kind of anti-stain shell, in addition to fast charge capability. Recently, it was found out that the phone will come with a special nano coating which is not only dirt repellent, but is also UV Active. Not only that, there is a fast charging ability that comes with the Xperia S, and this translates to charge times being reduced by half the time, where a 10-minute charge is more than enough to ensure the handset is able to see action for at least an hour. 

What do you think of such features being made available on the Xperia S, and would you like to see it as a staple in future smartphones from Sony, and perhaps other smartphone manufacturers?

Enjoy London sky with Galaxy Tab 10.1

Our Friends at Samsung are always finding New ways to show of there high end technology and In london Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 meets London Eye is to be utilised as a tourist guide for the passengers of one of the busiest attractions in London. Samsung Electronics said on Jan 26 that it has implemented 192 units of Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the 32 passenger capsules of London Eye, so that passengers can check information about famous attractions in London while enjoying great views of the city at 443 ft from the sky. London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel, was established in 1999 as part of the UK’s millennium project and is attracting more than 4 million annual visitors.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Google Earth 6.2 Is Not Square Anymore + Its Social To

Google Earth is a huge database of satellite photos and 3d polygonal models, and if you have used it before, you may have noticed that each tile (section of satellite/aerial photo) may have different colors/tones. That is due to the fact that satellite photos are not taken in the same lighting conditions, at the same time of the day and in the same weather conditions.With Google Earth 6.2, Google has made the tiles look consistent, and this makes the “immersion” aspect of Google Earth that much better, especially for high-altitude photos. While Google doesn’t say much about how it did it, it is fair to *guess* that they came up with an automated way to choose the right time of the day, analyze tiles, and finally filter them to make them seamless. Google can also blend in high-altitude photos that covers large areas, with lower altitude ones to “unify” the colors. As you get closer to a place, the additional detail makes it harder to keep the colors consistent.
Additionally, Google has added sharing options for Google Earth, and that includes email, and of course… Google+ (follow david starkey ). At the moment, you can forget about sharing over Facebook as Google uses every possible service to leverage its position in the heated social networking race. Overall, I would say that this is an excellent update to an already popular product. I hope that they will be working on the lighting and shadowing of the polygonal models next. Download Google Earth 6.2 link

Nintendo Wii U will see a end of year launch

For those who have been looking forward to getting their hands on the Nintendo Wii U, the good news is that Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata has revealed that the company’s next-gen console, the Wii U, will be seeing a launch in the US, Europe, Australia and Japan in time for the crucial shopping season at the end of the year. What this means is that if a Nintendo Wii U was what you really wanted, perhaps it’s time to add it to your Christmas wish list.
Unfortunately not all is rosy for Nintendo as the company has reported that they are expecting to see a lost of 65 billion Yen for the 2011 fiscal year, and that sales predictions for the Nintendo 3DS has seen a drop from 16m to 14m. While that is indeed somewhat somber news for Nintendo and their future, hopefully the Wii U will live up to the success of the Nintendo Wii which has seen a sale of 94m units since its launch back in 2006. Assuming Sony and Microsoft don’t surprise us with a PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720 respectively, the Nintendo Wii U could have a pretty strong head start. So, who else is looking forward to the Wii U under their Christmas tree in 2012?

Samsung Wave 3 Bada Smartphone Has TomTom Maps onboard

While Samsung’s Bada operating system might not be the smartphone platform of choice for the majority of smartphone owners out there, for those who rely heavily on GPS navigation might be interested in checking out the Samsung Wave 3 Bada-powered smartphone. TomTom, a company that’s synonymous navigational systems has apparently struck up a deal with Samsung. Basically what this deal entails is that the Samsung Wave 3 smartphone will have its maps powered by TomTom.
As far as its specifics are concerned, the deal for the Samsung Wave 3 will include map coverage for over 200 countries. For those interested in the numbers, this would basically equate to about 35 million kilometers worth of roads covered. The maps would also include features such as points of interest, traffic updates, speed camera alerts (for you speed demons out there) and 3D City Maps and 3D Landmarks. Those are some pretty nice features although we doubt Android/iOS/WP7 users will be jumping ship to Bada simply for them, but if you’re a fan of the OS, the Samsung Wave 3 might be worth your consideration.

The Pirate Bay Torrents Printable 3D objects

The Pirate Bay has started to share the source files for physical objects...
The controversial file-sharing site, known for aiding the distribution of music tracks, films and books, has decided to start a new category for files of 3D objects.
Only those with 3D printers will be able to make use of the files, but when they do, they'll be able to print out small plastic models like there's no tomorrow.
Pirate Bay has started a new category for data files for 3D models and is calling them Physibles, the site announced On its Blog...

``Evolution: New category.

We're always trying to foresee the future a bit here at TPB. One of the things that we really know is that we as a society will always share. Digital communication has made that a lot easier and will continue to do so. And after the internets evolutionized data to go from analog to digital, it's time for the next step.
Today most data is born digitally. It's not about the transition from analog to digital anymore. We don't talk about how to rip anything without losing quality since we make perfect 1 to 1 digital copies of things. Music, movies, books, all come from the digital sphere. But we're physical people and we need objects to touch sometimes as well!
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensinal printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
The benefit to society is huge. No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We'll be able to print food for hungry people. We'll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal. We'll be able to actually copy that floppy, if we needed one.
We believe that the future of sharing is about physible data. We're thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay - but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we'll download one.``

If Pirate Bay's effect on the music industry is anything to go by, the impact of this on the small plastic model industry could be catastrophic.
Though few people have 3D printers, the devices are likely to become much more popular as they get cheaper and become capable of producing more things. Currently the printers can't make much more than plastic desk toys, but The Pirate Bay predicts a future where print-outs will replace shopping:
We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.

`Free`New Hill Walkers Booklet (B.M.C)

Here's a Really Nice `Free` Book from those wise Folks @ The British Mountaineering Club and a great Introduction for Hill Walkers NEW to the pursuit and yes Hill walkers like there Tech to and we like to connect the dots between Interests and technology.

The British hills offer beauty, challenge and adventure, as well as the opportunity to keep fit and healthy. So it's no wonder that hill walking is such a popular activity, attracting people of all ages. Find out more in this free BMC booklet.
Walking in the uplands requires a collection of skills, including navigation and hazard avoidance. It is important that participants are prepared with some basic equipment and knowledge in order to enjoy hill walking safely.

For those who are relatively or completely new to the activity of hill walking, New Hill Walkers highlights some essential skills you should learn and develop on your trips into the hills and mountains, and provides a reference base of resources for learning the required skills.

The free, 28-page booklet contains chapters on clothing and equipment, navigation, hazards, walking in winter, access and the environment, and emergency procedures.



Apple still owns tablet market, but Android narrows the gap

Shipments of 15.4 million iPads in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 gave Apple a commanding 58 percent of the market, while Amazon's Kindle Fire helped heat up Android tablet shipments to a record 39 percent, according to one analysis.

Strategy Analytics released on Thursday the results of its latest research for the tablet market in the December quarter. The data showed global shipments jumped up to an all-time high of 27 million units during the period, up 150 percent from 10.7 million in the year ago quarter.

"Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong," said Peter King, Director at the market research firm, adding that "Apple shrugged off the much-hyped threat from entry-level Android models this quarter.”

Apple stunned Wall Street on Tuesday when it announced record sales of 15.43 million iPads, a 111 percent increase year over year. The analyst consensus leading up to Apple's announcement of its quarterly results had stood at 13.5 million.
Though some industry watchers had predicted that Amazon's Kindle Fire, which came out in November, would affect sales of the iPad, Apple executives said there had been no "obvious effect" of the device on sales of its own tablet.
 Google's Android operating system did reach a high last quarter, however, fueled largely by the Fire. The platform's 10.5 million units represented a 39 percent share of global tablet shipments during the fourth quarter. As such, the firm's findings show that Android managed to push the iPad below the 60 percent mark as had beenpreviously projected.

"Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes," said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. "Android is so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android’s operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem.”

Amazon said last month that it had sold millions of Kindle Fire units, but declined to provide more specific sales figures. Even without concrete numbers to go off of, analyst believe the Fire jumped quickly into second place in the tablet market in its first quarter of availability.

In third place was Microsoft, which managed a paltry one percent share of the tablet market in the quarter.

"The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space," the report read.

Tablet shipments for the whole year reached 66.9 million units, up 260 percent from last year's 18.6 million unit figure. The firm's research also showed that consumers are increasingly preferring tablets over netbooks and entry-level notebooks or desktops.

While non-iPad tablets are only now beginning to gain a foothold in the market after several embarrassing flops from early entrants, Apple has watched its touchscreen tablet surpass PC sales. The company sold more ipads in the fourth quarter than estimates say HP, the world's largest PC maker, sold computers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that he believes the iPad is not threatened by low-end, limited-function tablets and instead poses a threat to PCs.

"There will come a day when the tablet market in units is larger than the PC market," he predicted.

That day could come sooner than later, as sales of PCs declined by nearly six percent in the fourth quarter, according to research group Gartner, though Apple's Mac lineup remained impervious and posted more than 20 percent growth.

Raspberry Pi claims double the graphics speed of iPhone 4S

While the iPhone 4S is the undisputed, best iPhone to date, that does not mean other companies are just going to sit down and do nothing about the situation. You might have heard of the name Raspberry Pi before – this company churns out micro PCs, and the tech startup has taken off its kids’ gloves now, claiming that their Raspberry Pi machine is capable of outperforming NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 chipset, and will even offer double the iPhone 4S’ performance in a benchmark of its graphical capabilities.
Upton of Raspberry Pi mentioned in a GamesIndustry interview, “To summarise, BCM2835 has a tile mode architecture – so it kills immediate-mode devices like Tegra on fill-rate – and we’ve chosen to configure it with a very large amount of shader performance. So it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content.” Of course, all of that is just theory, and what matters most would be real life performance.The Legion of Fans grows daily for the Pi and personally i cant wait to sit down and spend a very Long Evening with the Raspberry Pi.

Buffalo Link Theater LT-V200 Media Player

Most Buffalo Link Theater media player where until today pretty lame and crippled with DRM and other limitations, however today, Buffalo announced a new generation with the LT-V200, capable to not only support the usual MPEG-1/2 and WMV9, but also Mpeg-4 AVC/H.264, DivX, Divx HD, FLV and even Real Video! As far as audio files are concerned, the LT-V200 also support AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, FLAC, Real Audio, Dolby Digital and DTS.

But that’s not all, this new Link Theater comes with an internal SATA port and USB port offering you the capacity to turn this little player into a real NAS as well as offering a unique Remote Play function that will allow you to stream, locally, all you content to any Android and iOS based devices.
The LT-V200 will be sold in Japan early February at around 14,000 Yen.

 Thx:Buffalo Japan