Saturday, May 19, 2012

HTC Desire C hands-on (video)

HTC gave us a quick session to play around with its latest handset, the Desire C. No, it's not part of the consolidated One series, nor is the company revealing precisely what that "C" stands for -- heaven forfend it's "cheap." While a humble 320 x 480 touchscreen and 600MHz processor might not set many smartphone obsessives' hearts a' racing, it still manages to eke out a HTC Sense-skinned Android 4.0 UI -- no mere feat, in our opinion. A 5-megapixel camera and expandable microSD slot are some other welcome specifications and it's all wrapped up in an attractive matte finish -- you can take your pick form black and white in the UK. Catch our quick video run-through of the sub-$300 handset right after the break.

(We mentioned in the video that the phone's running on a 6Mhz processor -- which is clearly madness. Just to reiterate, the Desire C runs on a 600MHz single-core processor.)

The phone felt slightly fuller in the hand compared to the recent glut of sub-10mm devices, measuring in at just under 12mm thick, but like Palm's HP's now defunct Pre range, it's a very comfortable fit in the hand. This was the NFC model and weighed in at precisely 100g (0.22 pounds). The 3.5-inch screen was bright, although noticeably grainier than HTC's more premium models. While a five-megapixel camera sounded like a boon, we were forewarned that it's of the fixed-focus variety. Despite that, it came with the same filter effects and dual-capture features seen on the likes of the One S. Despite the weedy processor and 512MB of RAM -- specs that echoed the ghosts of smartphone past -- it kept up with our swipes and several apps launched without much waiting around. The multitask button is also in attendance, with an interface similar to the One V: that is, more stock Android 4.0, less Sense sparkle. We were pleasantly surprised with the handset and it could strike a chord with phone buyers that fondly recall the larger, original Desire. However, there's no news just yet on the device making a trip over to the western side of the Atlantic.

Kiss Aero goodbye: Latest Windows 8 build reveals minimalistic desktop UI

It's safe to say that anticipation is high for the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview, which will become available in the first week of June. While we're still curious to see if Microsoft can better integrate the desktop and Metro environments of its latest operating system, the company has now revealed a significant change to the desktop portion of Windows 8 -- a completely restyled visual appearance. As you might remember from the Consumer Preview, window borders and widgets featured a simplified and subdued look in comparison to the glass-like materials of Aero, which Microsoft now calls "dated and cheesy." With the latest refresh, however, the company has pushed its modernistic philosophy even further to reveal a spartan (yet functional) interface that draws less attention to the chrome elements and allows the user to focus more on content.
Microsoft's latest reveal was made as part of a larger, retrospective look at its development of Windows and the evolution of the operating system. At every step, the company states that its emphasis has been on the overall "learnability" of the environment. As such, Microsoft claims that it's making great strides to ensure that consumers may quickly get up to speed with the latest OS, and hints that it has a number of reveals yet to be seen. In its very next breath, however, it also emphasized people's ability to adapt and move forward, which suggests the number of changes might not be as concilatory as some might've hoped. Regardless, we'll know for sure what Microsoft has in store in just a few weeks.

Silicon Micro Display rolls out $799 ST1080 wearable display

It may still be some time before you can take Google's ambitious wearable computing project for a spin, but there's certainly no shortage of head-mounted displays out there for those looking to blaze a trail of their own. You can now add Silicon Micro Display's new ST1080 glasses to that list, a full 1080p display that will handle both 2D and 3D content (in a variety of formats), and also allow you to see through the glasses for augmented reality applications (albeit with just 10 percent transparency). As with most such glasses, however, you won't get head-tracking capabilities, and you'll have a couple of tethers to contend with (HDMI for video and USB for power, including via an optional battery pack). Those not put off by those constraints or the whole visor look can place their order now for $799.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Packard Bell EasyNote LV, TV laptops bring Ivy Bridge to speed-hungry Europeans

Most laptops being updated to Intel's Ivy Bridge processors have come from international brands, so it may be some relief to European PC buyers that Acer's local Packard Bell badge has made the leap as well. The 15.6-inch EasyNote TV and 17.3-inch LV will each use the new 22-nanometer processors both to push performance that little bit farther as well as get a middling five hours of battery life. NVIDIA graphics in GeForce GT 620M and 630M flavors will spruce up the gaming side, however, and Packard Bell is delivering a 20 percent more responsive multi-touch trackpad, dedicated music / social keys and a bamboo-like lid pattern to add a little dose of style. The duo will surface in Europe during June at prices starting from €499 ($656). Acer has sometimes brought Packard Bell PCs to the US as roughly equivalent Gateway models and vice versa, so Americans shouldn't be surprised if they get counterpart laptops before long.

LG announces Optimus LTE2, coming to Korea mid-May with True HD IPS and 2GB RAM

Unlike today's other phone announcement, we can't say we were expecting to see LG come out with something of its own -- and it's a bit of a doozy, at that. Samsung's Korean rival decided not to let the Galaxy S III have the full spotlight for long, officially unleashing the Optimus LTE2. The mind-blowing portion of the spec sheet is its inclusion of 2GB RAM, a milestone we haven't yet seen in a smartphone. Additionally, the LTE2 will feature the company's "True HD IPS" display, WPC-backed wireless charging capabilities, Android 4.0 and a 2,150mAh battery that LG claims will increase the battery life by an astounding 40 percent. We haven't received word on which CPU will be used, though we're hopeful that a quad-core beast (or Krait, perhaps?) will complement the astounding amount of RAM. The LTE2 is due to land on at least three carriers in Korea sometime in mid-May, but we haven't heard any pricing or additional country availability at this time. We'll keep you posted as we learn more. In the meantime, check out LG's Flickr page down below for more images, and start thinking of ways to take advantage of the extra horsepower.

HTC launches kickstand-tastic One S cases, we go hands-on

HTC launches kickstand-tastic One S cases, we go hands-on

Kickstand lovers rejoice! Not content with jazzing up its One X flagship, HTC just sent us a set of cases made specifically for its lovely One S. These come in four colors -- gray, granita (red), navy blue and black -- the latter featuring a tweaked design with an integrated kickstand. Unlike most third-party products, build quality is top-notch -- the accessories use a precision-molded flexible plastic shell covered in a soft touch finish. The kickstand is made of a metal alloy and is spring-loaded, but blocks access to the micro-USB port when in use. While the cases protect the back and sides of the One S, the front remains exposed to potential damage. Availability is slated as "soon", but pricing is $24.99 for the plain model and $39.99 for the kickstand version. Enjoy the gallery below.

Samsung Galaxy S III software impressions Hands on

So, you nodded agreeably when all those hardware specs were listed, but are a bit more intrigued by what Samsung's done to the Android 4.0 interface. In short, TouchWiz is still here, but there are some noticeable differences between it and the legacy version seen on the Galaxy S II that bring the GSIII closer to a stock Android experience. But, there are also some things that are a rehash of what we saw on last year's Gingerbread-powered hardware. We've delved into this latest interpretation, and tried out Sammy's S Voice and S Beam features along the way. Our deeper impressions are after the break, where you'll also find a quick video rundown and can see the new software in action.
There are several welcome additions that are obvious as soon as you turn the screen on -- a quartet of lock-screen shortcuts. Customizable, and available with a swipe, those shortcuts aren't the only way to access things in a pinch, however, as Samsung's new "human" gestures are on board as well. For example, one of these gestures lets you jump straight to your camera from the lock screen by pressing and holding a fingertip to the display and rotating the handset into landscape mode. The physical button layout below the screen -- much like the global Galaxy S II -- dictates a similar navigation ethos, with multitasking accessible by a long press on the home button. The base style remains unmistakably TouchWiz, but there are some extra twists. Unlike stock ICS, there's now a settings option immediately available in the drop-down menu, and there are new gesture menu and sharing options, but the remaining look and layout is largely unchanged -- save for little details, like on-off switches, that have been tweaked for Samsung's own design reasons. Samsung's added in Google's own ICS widgets alongside its own versions if you're picky about exactly which calendar app displays on your home screen.
The camera app has been beefed up with more instant-access settings and is where Samsung's push for increased social connectivity comes through strongest. We've outlined these new features in detail, and suffice to say, they look to be traits many folks will be using often in their day-to-day.
It's hard to describe S Voice as anything but Samsung's interpretation of Siri. The preview software wasn't able to unlock itself via our verbal command, although Samsung tells us this is one of its abilities. We had more luck launching apps and asking the voice assistant to perform other tasks like grabbing weather info. As with Apple's version, you need a data connection to get it working, and the voice detection worked reasonably well during our time with the device. Alongside the ability to play video clips in a window on top of any app, S Beam looks to be the highlight among the GSIII's new software offerings. The ability to shoot files wirelessly through a combination of NFC and WiFi is quite handy, assuming you've got a friend with the same phone and a wireless network within reach. Sending video files between handsets only takes tapping them together, and the ensuing transfer is fast -- we shot a 1080p sample video from one phone to the other in a matter of seconds.

So, while Holo fans might balk, it looks like TouchWiz isn't going anywhere soon, because Samsung's looking to prove that it has something to offer beside top-shelf hardware specifications. The company's aiming towards a more, surprise, surprise, Apple-like strategy by focusing on "human" functionality and phone interaction. While gesture functions, S Voice and the like will help separate the company's flagship from both rivals and its existing smartphone line-up, Samsung's still got its work cut out to convince us that these will become desirable and core features of smartphones in 2012. That said, we're intrigued, and are looking forward to testing how well these software additions fare when we can put them through their real-world paces in our forthcoming review.

Under the microscope: Samsung Galaxy S III's HD Super AMOLED display

By now you should already know that the brand-spanking-new Samsung Galaxy S III sports a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display. That's right: no "plus" here, which means this 720p panel is featuring the same old PenTile RBGB pixel arrangement -- just like the 4.65-inch version on the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II HD LTE. Needless to say, this is again pure ammunition for the folks over at LG; but as we've mentioned before, HD Super AMOLED's superb contrast and higher-than-before pixel density outweigh its shortcomings in most cases.

For now though, let's examine these sub-pixels with a 230x zoom USB microscope and compare them with other phones that we have in hand. Starting off with the HTC One X's 720p SLCD 2 above, you can see how its denser sub-pixels produce a finer picture, but ultimately it's still behind HD Super AMOLED when it comes to contrast, especially with black. Read on for more comparisons.

Next up we take a look at the Galaxy Nexus. While the two share very similar contours and side profiles, the older phone has a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display, while its new cousin has a 4.8-inch panel sporting the same technology. Naturally, the pixel density is slightly lower for the latter (as you can see above), but we barely noticed any difference with our own eyes during our quick hands-on. Judging by the microscopic pictures above though, it does look like Samsung's made the red sub-pixels slightly smaller, so we shall perform some more comparison tests when we review the Galaxy S III.

And finally, we put the Galaxy S III up against its main siblings from over the last two years: Galaxy S (4-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED), Galaxy S II (4.3-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED Plus) and Galaxy S II LTE (4.5-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED Plus). It's rather interesting to see PenTile floating in and out of each generation, but we sure hope an HD Super AMOLED Plus phone will materialize before the "Galaxy S IV" next year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 go on sale, starting at $459

Lenovo announced a slew of notebooks back at CES in January, so you'll be forgiven if the ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 don't ring a bell. Those names are about to hit closer to home, though, because both models are finally on sale in the US and Asia with a base price of $459. To jog your memory, the 14-inch Edge E430 and 15-inch E530 run Intel Core i3-2350M Sandy Bridge CPUs clocked at 2.3GHz and feature 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drives, Intel HD Graphics and a 1366 x 768 displays. Of course, Lenovo lets you customize the processor, storage space and more on its website. Click through to the source links below for the full configuration options.

PoP Video peripheral turns iPod touches and iPhones into pico projectors for $99

While it may not be the first time we've come across such a concept, this PoP Video add-on is certainly quite different than, say, WooWee's Cinemin Swivel -- and significantly cheaper, too. The PoP Video pairs up with iPod touches (3rd / 4th generation) and iPhones via Apple's proprietary 30-pin connector, essentially turning your device into an unorthodox pico projector. According to PoP's site, the 3.5 ounce peripheral's capable of 960 x 540 video output and can give you up to two hours of "playtime" on a single charge -- achieved by way of micro-USB. It all wouldn't be worth it without the free iOS app, though, which lets folks tinker with settings and do what it's intended to do: project videos, pics as well as browsing within Safari. The $99 PoP Video is up for pre-order now, and you can get a quick glimpse of the accessory in action just past the break.

Samsung teases Series 9 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook, leaves availability in the ether

Samsung's latest Series 9 Ultrabook is certainly a beautiful piece of engineering, but really, what's the fun in purchasing a new laptop with yesterday's internals? Fortunately, users won't need to make that compromise, as the company has now outed a refreshed version of the computer that's complete with Ivy Bridge internals. The move follows Samsung's recent reveal of the Series 7 Gamer laptop, but as you'd expect, components in the Series 9 are geared more toward efficiency than performance. At its heart, you'll find a dual-core 1.7GHz Core i5 3317U CPU (which has yet to be announced), Intel HD Graphics 4000 and the HM75 Express chipset. While its internal storage remains the same, with a 128GB SSD, its memory has received a pleasant bump up to 8GB. No word yet on pricing or availability, but for those who want to own the very latest, we invite you to stay tuned.

Logitech unveils its Solar Keyboard Folio for the new iPad and iPad 2, we go hands-on

Logitech Introduces Light-Powered Protection for the New, Third-Generation iPad
New Solar Keyboard Folio Provides Hassle-Free Protection with Minimal Bulk

NEWARK, Calif. - May 3, 2012 - Today Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) announced the expansion of both its solar and tablet accessories lineups with the Logitech® Solar Keyboard Folio.
Made for the new, third-generation iPad® as well as the iPad 2, the ultra-slim, book-style case and keyboard offer stylish design with protection, featuring a built-in keyboard that's powered by light.
Similar to Logitech's solar keyboards for Mac® and PC, the Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio includes onboard solar cells that charge the built-in Bluetooth® keyboard in any light, whether indoors or outdoors. When fully charged, the battery lasts for up to two years, even in complete darkness (based on a average use of two hours per day).
"Now that people are seemingly inseparable from their tablets, using them for everything from sending emails to watching videos, they want accessories powered to meet their needs," said Alexis Richard, director of product marketing at Logitech. "The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is a smart partner for your iPad. Its sleek built-in keyboard uses light to charge and it provides hassle-free protection for your iPad – both for the front and back. It gives you an ideal way to use and protect your tablet without adding bulk."
The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio has two stand positions, so when you want to use your iPad you can choose the viewing angle that's best for you. Open the folio and place your iPad in the first position to enjoy the full keyboard when you're typing. Place your iPad in the second position and the first keyboard row acts as your one-touch media playback and volume controls, so you can play, pause and change volume instantly.
The folio also has an instant On/Off function, which means your iPad automatically wakes when you open the folio and goes on standby when you close it.
Pricing and Availability
The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in May 2012, for a suggested retail price of $129.99. For more information please visit or our blog.


HTC One X for AT&T review

After last year's scattered lineup of products, HTC's been going through a bit of a renaissance lately thanks to the One X, One S and One V -- a beautifully focused trio of phones that run the company's new, lightweight Sense 4 skin on top of Ice Cream Sandwich. Hot on the heels of T-Mobile's One S comes AT&T's One X, which is launching May 6 for $199 on contract. The reworked device gains LTE and drops NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 chip for a dual-core Snapdragon S4. So, does this brain transplant make it a better or worse proposition than the global One X? Hit the break to find out.
It takes more than a casual glance to tell AT&T's One X apart from its matte white foreign twin. The only telltale sign is HTC's logo giving way to the carrier's brand on the glass between the earpiece and the display. While both are striking handsets carefully crafted from the same thin (8.9mm), machined polycarbonate unibody, AT&T's version is perhaps a smidgen taller and heavier despite the official numbers (134.36mm and 130g). There are other subtle changes: the camera pod contains a slightly larger plastic (not aluminum) piece, and the five contacts on the back don't line up, leading us to believe these devices use incompatible docks.

The phone retains the same gorgeous 4.7-inch HD (1280 x 720) Super LCD 2 (non-PenTile) screen protected by Gorilla glass, but the innards have changed significantly. NVIDIA's quad-core 1.5GHz Tegra 3 chip's been replaced with Qualcomm's dual-core 1.5GHz MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 processor, which is similar to the MSM8260A found in the One S but adds that important dual-band (1700 / 700MHz) LTE radio. While the 1GB of RAM carries over, built-in storage is down to 16GB from 32GB (with 12GB available to the user). This is particularly vexing since there's no microSD card slot on the One X.
Comparing a carrier-sanctioned device to its SIM-free counterpart often results in disappointment. Processor swaps and operator-imposed software tweaks don't usually mix well when it comes to performance (AT&T's Galaxy Note comes to mind). Well, you can rest easy: AT&T's One X bucks this trend and feels just as blazingly fast as the global model, if not brisker. In our benchmarks it beat the Tegra 3 variant in almost every test, with scores matching the Snapdragon S4-equipped One S in each category. All told, it's quite possibly the speediest handset we've ever played with.
Linpack single-thread (MFLOPS)SunSpider 9.1 (ms, lower numbers are better)

Even with LTE enabled, battery life is noticeably better on AT&T's One X than on the foreign version. This was a sticking point in our original review, so we're extremely pleased with the improvement. We recorded eight hours and 55 minutes in our video loop rundown test with the screen set to 50 percent brightness -- most folks will have little trouble getting a full day's use from the 1,800mAh cell. Call quality was decent, but LTE performance exceeded our expectations with peak speeds of 35.7Mbps down and 23.5Mbps up (!) -- the fastest results we've ever recorded on an LTE device.

On the camera front, AT&T's One X follows in the footsteps of its global stablemate (and the One S) with the same impressive 8-megapixel shooter. The wide aperture f/2.0 autofocus lens, high-quality BSI sensor and super-fast processing combined with features like HDR, panorama and real-time filters provide an unrivaled imaging experience -- it even captures photos and 1080p / 30fps video simultaneously (with full AF and stereo audio). The lack of a proper dual-detent shutter button is the only blatant omission. Since there's no difference in picture quality, we've re-posted our existing samples.
Both AT&T's One X and its unlocked cousin run Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3, in fact) along with HTC's new streamlined Sense 4 UI. We're happy to report the carrier's managed to avoid diluting HTC's vision by keeping customizations to a minimum. AT&T's start-up animation is far less tacky and annoying than what we saw on T-Mobile's One S, but here again the network status indicator's been adjusted to display 4G LTE for LTE, 4G (instead of H) for HSPA+ and E for EDGE. The word AT&T always appears in the left of the notification bar, wasting valuable space.

In addition to Google and HTC's usual software, you'll find a dozen or so pre-installed apps on the phone. The good news is that half of them are removable. The bad news is that several useful apps that exist on the foreign version -- such as Voice Recorder, Polaris Office, FM Radio, Flashlight and Dropbox -- are missing from AT&T's One X. The operator-specific crapware includes AT&T Code scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator (why?), AT&T Ready2Go, Device Help, Live TV and myAT&T. Amazon Kindle, MOG Music, Top HD Games, and YPMobile complete the package.
As with other AT&T devices, the hotspot functionality is crippled and will "call home" to check for a tethering plan before turning on -- this even after unlocking the handset and inserting a SIM from another carrier. There's also no AWS support for HSPA+ in the baseband out of the box. On the plus side, NFC was left untouched and Android Beam works as expected.

By now you're probably asking yourself, is AT&T's One X really better than the global model? Yes, absolutely -- assuming you can live with the carrier's software tweaks and bloatware. At $199, this is the best subsidized Android phone available in the US today. It arguably dethrones Samsung's mighty Galaxy Note as AT&T's flagship device by combining Ice Cream Sandwich, a faster processor and a more efficient LTE radio. The only alternative, if you can afford it, is to import the unbranded, unlocked Canadian version of the One X, which is also compatible with AT&T's LTE bands.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

KegDroid dispenses beer with the help of a Xoom tablet and an Arduino board

KegDroid dispenses beer with the help of a Xoom tablet and an Arduino board

Here's an instance of NFC technology that's more exciting than yet another tap-to-pay scenario. Google employee Paul Carff combined a Motorola Xoom running ICS with an Arduino microcontroller to create KegDroid, a friendly green beer dispenser. The Xoom acts as a gatekeeper to that brewed goodness, only letting the bot dispense drinks after users swipe an authorized badge. The badge is read by an NFC scanner on the bottom of the case and is then authenticated (or rejected) by the Arduino board. Once the system grants access, users can choose from two selections on tap via a custom Android application displayed on the Xoom's screen. As Android Community points out -- and as you'll see in the video below -- the KegDroid hasn't mastered a bartender-level pour (read: there's way too much foam). Still, this is oodles cooler than your average keg, wouldn't you agree?


Must See HDTV (April 30th - May 6th)

Must See HDTV (April 30th - May 6th)

While its not the Mayweather/Pacquiao boxing match fans want to see, this is the fight we have. Miguel Cotto believes he's in position to send Floyd Mayweather Jr. home with his first ever loss and surprisingly, some boxing experts agree with him. We'll see if Cotto's strength is enough to overcome Mayweather's speed and defensive prowess, but as usual, the story here is the fight that's not on the card.
(May 5th, 9PM, HBO PPV)

NBA Playoffs
A knee injury to Chicago's Derrick Rose has significantly shifted the balance of power in this year's NBA Playoffs. While the Bulls suddenly have to try and win without their superstar, the triumvirate down in Miami is suddenly under even more pressure to get the job done with two of the Eastern Conference's best players (Rose, Dwight Howard) out for the season. Out west the early games showed it will be a battle no matter what seeds are matching up, your guess is as good as ours as to who will come out of that conference and vie for the title in a few weeks.

Blu-ray & Games

HaywireMen In BlackMen In Black IICasablanca (single disc)Meet Joe BlackNew Year's EveMax Payne (Xbox 360, PS3)Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360, PS3)


Rangers/Blue Jays, ESPN, 7PMKnicks/Heat, TNT, 7PMCapitals/Rangers, NBC Sports Network, 7:30PMMavericks/Thunder, TNT, 9PMHow I Met Your Mother, CBS, 8PMBones, Fox, 8PMThe Voice, NBC, 8PMDancing With The Stars, ABC, 8PMThe Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC Family, 8PMGossip Girl, CW, 8PM2 Broke Girls, CBS, 8:30PMTop Gear, BBC America, 8:30PMEureka, Syfy, 9PMWWE Raw, USA, 9PMHouse, Fox, 9PMTwo And A Half Men, CBS, 9PMThe Pitch, AMC, 9PMAmerican Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, Discovery, 9PMMake It or Break It, ABC Family, 9PMMike & Molly, 9:30PMHawaii Five-0, CBS, 10PMLost Girl, Syfy, 10PMRob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, MTV, 10PMCastle, ABC, 10PMSmash, NBC, 10PM


Hawks/Celtics, NBATV, 7:30PMDevils/Flyers, NBC Sports Network, 7:30PM76ers/Bulls, TNT, 8PMNuggets/Lakers, TNT, 10:30PMAmerican Transgender, National Geographic Channel, 8PMGlee, Fox, 8PM90210, CW, 8PMNCIS, CBS, 8PMCougar Town, ABC, 8:30PMNew Girl, Fox, 9PMDancing with the Stars, ABC, 9PMNCIS: LA, CBS, 9PMDeadliest Catch, Discovery, 9PMThe LA Complex, CW, 9PMThe Voice, NBC, 9PMBomb Patrol: Afghanistan (season finale), G4, 10PMSecrets of Bin Ladens Lair, discovery, 10PMDream Machines, Syfy, 10PMPrivate Practice, ABC, 10PMUnforgettable, CBS, 10PMTop Shot (season finale), History, 10PMChasing Classic Cars, Velocity, 10PM


Spurs/Jazz, TNT, 7PMRangers/Capitals, NBC Sports Network, 7:30PMCoyotes/Predators, CNBC, 9PMClippers/Grizzlies, TNT, 9:30PMSurvivor, CBS, 8PMAmerican Idol, Fox, 8PMBetty White's Off Their Rockers, NBC, 8 & 8:30PMSuburgatory, ABC, 8:30PMModern Family, ABC, 9PMCriminal Minds, CBS, 9PMCar Warriors, Speed, 9PMAmerican Guns, Discovery, 9PMRock Center with Brian Williams, NBC, 9PMDon't Trust the B in Apartment 23, ABC, 9:30PMTotal Blackout, Syfy, 10PMRevenge, ABC, 10PMCSI, CBS, 10PMWhitechapel (season finale), BBC America, 10PMLaw & Order: SVU, NBC, 10PMAmerica's Best Dance Crew, MTV, 10PM


Heat/Knicks, TNT, 7PMFlyers/Devils, NBC Sports Network, 7:30PMThunder/Mavericks, TNT, 9:30PMBlues/Kings, NBC Sports Network, 10PMThe Big Bang Theory, CBS, 8PMCommunity, NBC, 8PMMissing, ABC, 8PMAmerican Idol, Fox, 8PMVampire Diaries, CW, 8PM30 Rock, NBC, 8:30PMRules of Engagement, CBS, 8:30PMTouch, Fox, 9PMPerson of Interest, CBS, 9PMThe Office, NBC, 9PMImpact Wrestling, Spike TV, 9PMGrey's Anatomy, ABC, 9PMGreat American Manhunt, NGC, 9PMParks & Recreation, NBC, 9:30PMScandal, ABC, 10PMThe Mentalist, CBS, 10PMAwake, NBC, 10PMCafe Racer, Velocity, 10 & 10:30PMMMA Junkie Live!, Spike TV, 11PM


24/7: Mayweather/Cotto (season finale), HBO, 8PMHawks/Celtics, ESPN2, 7:30PMCoyotes/Predators, NBC Sports Network, 7:30PMLakers/Nuggets, ESPN, 10:30PMBulls/76ers, ESPN, 8PMShark Tank, ABC, 8PMThe Finder, Fox, 8PMWWE SmackDown, Syfy, 8PMNikita, CW, 8PMWhale Wars: Viking Shores, Animal Planet, 9PMCSI: NY, CBS, 9PMGrimm, NBC, 9PMFringe, Fox, 9PMFairly Legal, USA, 9PMSupernatural, CW, 9PMThe Ricky Gervais Show, HBO, 9PMBlue Bloods, CBS, 10PMIn Plain Sight (series finale), USA, 10PMThe Ultimate Fighter, FX, 10PMMagic City, Starz, 10PMReal Time with Bill Maher, HBO, 10PM


Mayweather/Cotto boxing, HBO PPV, 9PMTreasure Island Parts 1 & 2 (special presentation), Syfy, 7PMUFC on Fox 3, Fox, 8PMEscape Routes (season finale), NBC, 8PMThe Firm, NBC, 9PMThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony, HBO, 9PMSaturday Night Live: Eli Manning / Rihanna, 11:30PM


The Amazing Race (season finale), CBS, 8PMThe Comedy Awards, Comedy Central, 9PMNASCAR Sprint Cup Series @ Talladega, Fox, 12PMPhillies/Nationals Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN, 8PM60 Minutes, CBS, 7PMThe Cleveland Show, Fox, 7:30PMThe Simpsons, Fox, 8PMOnce Upon A Time, ABC, 8PMHarry's Law, NBC, 8PMBob's Burgers, Fox, 8:30PMGame of Thrones, HBO, 9PMFamily Guy, Fox, 9PMThe Killing, AMC, 9PMThe Apprentice, NBC, 9PMMythbusters, Discovery, 9PMNurse Jackie, Showtime, 9PMThe Big C, Showtime, 9:30PMPlanet Earth: Extreme Survival (special presentation), BBC America, 10PMGCB (season finale), ABC, 10PMThe Borgias, Showtime, 10PMMad Men, AMC, 10PMNYC 22, CBS, 10PMVeep, HBO, 10PMGirls, HBO, 10:30PM

South Korea opens up cellphone sales, networks wary of the 'free market'

By Daniel Cooper posted Apr 30th 2012 7:28PM

South Korea opens up cellphone sales, networks wary of the 'free market'

South Korea's Communications Commission is wresting control of the domestic cellphone market away from operators. From May 1st, it is opening the handset business open to any vendor, who will sell phones unlocked so consumers can decide their choice of network. The plan is aimed at lowering prices by introducing competition between the retailers -- although some voices in the industry have expressed concerns that the operators will withdraw discounted offers in retaliation. Naturally, the KCC is determined to ensure a better deal for consumers, and is already strong-arming wayward networks into ensuring that doesn't happen.


Watch as a DIY 8-bit computer comes together, learn something in the process

By Terrence O'Brien posted Apr 30th 2012 11:02PM

Watch as a DIY 8-bit computer comes together, learn something in the process

We've actually already seen one completely home-built 8-bit computer but, while Jake Eisenmann wasn't afraid to show off his creation, Kyle Hovey is actually inviting us along for the ride. The project started up last week when Hovey gathered his first batch of parts and a pair of books and started designing a simple 8-bit computer based on the SAP-1 architecture (SAP stands for Simple as Possible). The transistor-transistor logic (TTL) design is slowly coming together and every step of the process is being documented by Hovey on his blog so that others may follow along and learn from his experience (and, most likely, his mistakes as well). For more details on this rather impressive project, and to monitor its progress, check out the source.


US Cellular, Alltel Wireless team up to launch 'U Prepaid' service in Walmart stores


Wireless carriers expand distribution to give customers more options for wireless service

CHICAGO AND LITTLE ROCK (April 30, 2012) – U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) and Alltel Wireless have joined together to begin offering U Prepaid, a no contract wireless service, in select Walmart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) in local communities across 18 states beginning in May. The alliance, the first of its kind in the industry, offers customers flexible payment options without signing a contract.

"Teaming with Alltel to gain distribution in Walmart gives us another opportunity to be where our customers want to shop and to offer more customers a prepaid service that helps them control their monthly budgets," said Carter S. Elenz, executive vice president of sales and customer service for U.S. Cellular. "U Prepaid customers with U.S. Cellular will be backed by our high-speed network, which has the highest call quality and network satisfaction of any national carrier."

The new alliance provides Walmart customers simplified, easy-to-understand service plan choices. Depending on where customers live, the U Prepaid service will run on either U.S. Cellular's high-speed national network or Alltel's advanced coast-to-coast network.

"Alltel is proud to bring the strength and equity of our U Prepaid brand to U.S. Cellular to create this unique alliance," said Lesa Handly, chief marketing officer for Alltel Wireless. "Together, we can leverage our position as the "local" wireless carrier offering a hometown alternative in the communities we serve."

Customers will be able to select one of four U Prepaid devices that best meets their personal needs. The Android-powered Samsung Repp is a touchscreen smartphone for customers who want to stay productive while on the go. The LG Attune/LG Exchange and LG Saber make staying connected to friends and family easy with full QWERTY keyboards, and the Samsung Chrono provides the features and functionality for customers who prefer to use their phone for calling and texting.

Customers will be able to choose from a variety of value-packed plans to match how they use their phones. There are multiple data options and plans that include unlimited talk and texting. All of the plans are nationwide with no roaming charges.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular's award-winning high-speed nationwide network has the highest call quality of any national carrier and features a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices. The Chicago-based carrier was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Champion in 2012 for the second year in a row. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on, and

About Alltel Wireless
Alltel Wireless, marketed by Allied Wireless Communications Corporation (AWCC), is America's longest running wireless brand serving customers in six states. The Little Rock, AR-based carrier's signature Best Value Unlimited plan helps customers stretch their dollars further. Combined with leading smartphone and feature phone devices delivered on an advanced network, Alltel Wireless offers consumers one of the most compelling values in the wireless industry. AWCC is a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATNI). For more information, please visit or


Commercial space shuttle prototypes fly through wind tunnel testing

Commercial space shuttle prototypes fly through wind tunnel testing

A pair of companies developing their own commercial space shuttles are presumably trying to flatten their hair after some rigorous wind tunnel testing. First up, Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos (the guy behind Amazon), a company that's remained pretty quiet on its efforts to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station. Its Space Vehicle setup will plump for a biconic shape (seen above), with a flattened side and a split flap. According to Blue Origin's president, Rob Meyerson, the shape allows greater volume than traditional designs, but forgo the "weight penalty" of winged craft. Compared to earlier capsules, the Space Vehicle's shape, with its fuselage flap to generate lift, should also give it better control on re-entry to earth.

Juggling for wind tunnel time, Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser has also been blasted with smoke to test its own air resistance credentials. Its module would lauch from the top of the rocket, and glide (as much as anything that costs this much can) back to earth like NASA's own space shuttles. The Dream Chaser is planning its first flight for this fall. You can check out its more traditional take on the future of space travel after the break -- and decide which of the two you'll want sending your children to the mines.

[Picture credit: Blue Origin, SNC]


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Cyanogenmod 9 struts its stuff on HTC's One X

Reception and call quality 9.3 Display 10 Battery life 6.9 Camera 8.6 Ease of use 10 Design and form factor 9.7 Portability (size / weight) 9.7 Media support 10 Durability 9.7 Ecosystem (apps, accessories 9.7

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BlackBerry Curve 9220 hands-on

BlackBerry Curve 9220 hands-on

We're just beginning our sojourn through this year's BlackBerry World, and we've already found a rare gem that may not get a lot of face time here in the States: the Curve 9220. This little 3G-less beaut takes advantage of BlackBerry OS 7.1, but it isn't going to attract the spec-hungry folk -- it packs a 2MP camera and features a 2.4-inch non-touch display with 320 x 240 resolution. It very well may, however, gain the favor of anyone looking for a budget-friendly BBM device. Seeing as this is the phone's major selling point, we made sure to take a few minutes to play with its keyboard. Compared to the QWERTY-laden legends that have graced BlackBerry devices for years (the Bold 9900 and Tour come to mind), the 9220's keyboard has some big shoes to fill, but unfortunately you won't be blessed with the same kind of experience that you'd have when using one of its elder brothers. Due to the phone's petite size, the individual keys -- arranged in standalone formation and without frets -- are a bit cramped and felt a little too slick for our taste. Of course, this isn't poised to be the latest and greatest that Waterloo has to offer, but for the low price of 10,990 rupees (about $210), it's still a pretty sweet deal for messaging lovers on a shoestring budget. Head below to view the phone from every angle.

Joseph Volpe contributed to this post.

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Peter Jackson unfazed by 'Hobbit' footage pushback, but will stick to 24 fps for trailers

By Steve Dent posted Apr 30th 2012 8:44AM


Calm down, cinema-goers. It just takes time to "settle in" to the strange new ultra-realistic world of high frame-rates, according to Peter Jackson, who's been responding to audience's rather strong panning of 48fps rough cuts from his upcoming 3D epic, Hobbit. Viewers' main beefs were the surprising appearance of the higher cadence footage, which almost looked like it was shot on video, as well as blemishes on actors and sets which were all-too-visible without the crutch of motion blur. But Jackson insists that the footage lacked special effects and color correction, and that the showing was perhaps too short to judge the frame-rate -- which is why he also says there'll be no 48 fps trailer. He even adds that he's now "very aware of the strobing, the flicker and the artifacts" when he's watching regular 24fps cinema -- so the real struggle for audiences might not be adjusting to the new way, but going back to the old.

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Alienware's new gaming laptops get matching Ivy Bridge processors

Dell's Enhanced Alienware Portfolio Delivers Exceptional Mobile Gaming Experience

M14x, M17x, M18x Offer Powerful Performance Options for Mobile Gamers
M14x and M18x Are Most Powerful 14-inch and 18-inch Laptops in the Universe
Collaboration with EA for an Enhanced PC Gaming Experience

Alienware, Dell's high performance PC gaming brand, is taking the mobile gaming experience to a new level with its enhanced gaming laptop portfolio that lets gamers choose a system that best fits their mobile lifestyle. The enhanced systems include: the M14x, the most powerful 14-inch laptop in the universe, for the gamer who requires a balance between mobility and performance; the 3D-capable M17x for an immersive high-definition, surround-sound sensory experience, and the M18x – also the most powerful 18-inch laptop in the universe – for gamers whose priority is performance above all else but who also require the option to occasionally 'go mobile.'

The Alienware M14x, M17x, and M18x laptops deliver immersive sensory experiences, with each offering the latest NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon HD graphics cards and the Creative Sound Blaster audio chipset with THX 7.1 digital surround sound and Klipsch-branded speakers.

High-Performance Mobile Gaming
A perfect balance of performance and mobility, the Alienware M14x allows gamers on-the-go to experience uncompromising gaming performance. The M14x features optional dual drive configurations, up to 16GB of memory for extreme multitasking, a Blu-ray combo optical drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics engine with GDDR5 graphics memory[ii] – the most advanced GPU in a 14-inch form factor and the first time Alienware is offering GDDR5 graphics on a laptop of this size.

The Alienware M17x immerses the customer in the game with every dimension, pixel and sound, for a bigger, richer gaming experience. The M17x delivers the latest NVIDIA and AMD graphics card options, up to 32GB of memory[ii], optional 17.3-inch 120Hz WideFHD WLED 3D display, and THX 3D surround sound. It is one of the first laptops to offer the AMD Radeon HD 7970M graphics card and the latest GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M and 675M graphics solutions[ii].

Alienware's flagship gaming laptop, the Alienware M18x, is equipped with technology capable of matching high-performance gaming desktops. The M18x delivers up to 200w of mobile graphics power when configured with the optional Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics enabling an NVIDIA SLI experience and up to 4GB of GDDR5 graphics memoryii. A configuration featuring dual AMD Radeon HD 7970m with CrossFire will be available in the coming weeks. An 18.4-inch Full HD 1080p WLED backlit LCD, up to 750GB 7200RPM SATA hard drives , support for a triple solid state drive option – 768GB SSD (3 x 256GB SSD), and a stylish, anodized aluminum shell all combine to make the M18x a gaming and entertainment powerhouse like no other.

All three laptops feature Intel's 3rd Generation processors and Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technologies, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 for fast data transfer, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 3D HD gaming capabilityi, optional Blu-ray disc drive and exceptional surround-sound quality from Klipsch speakers. In addition, the Alienware laptops feature AlienAdrenaline, which enables users to create shortcuts associated with games, or applications capable of triggering a chain of commands meant to improve system performance or to customize the experience.

"Our customers want the most immersive gaming experience possible, and we've taken the all-powerful M14x, M17x, and M18x laptops and made them even better, delivering the latest technologies for almost every need," said Frank Azor, General Manager, Alienware. "We've always offered the latest technology for the best gaming experience possible, and our enhanced lineup will let you pwn any competitor and provide the sensory experience that we know you crave."

AlienFX Implementation in EA's Battlefield 3™
Dell is also announcing its ongoing collaboration with EA to implement an AlienFX software and lighting control system as well as an exclusive Alienware Arena dog tag in Battlefield 3. Customers can experience these AlienFX implementations while playing Battlefield 3 today, which will provide gamers with a more personal experience by adjusting lighting colors and effects settings. Gamers will see unique loading and menu and player health lighting effects that will change throughout their Battlefield 3 gameplay experience.

Availability and Pricing:
Alienware M14x, M17x and M18x are available now on and with standard configurations starting at $1099 for the M14x, $1499 for the M17x, and $1999 for the M18x.

Detailed Information:

Alienware M14x
· 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 Processor Options

o Intel Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz (3.1GHz w/Turbo Boost, 3MB Cache) (Standard)

o Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz (3.6GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

· Powerful NVIDIA Graphics Card Options

o 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M using NVIDIA Optimus technology[ii] (Standard)

o 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M using NVIDIA Optimus technology[ii]

· 14-inch WLED HD display (1366X768) (Standard) or optional 14-inch WLED HD+ display (1600X900)

· Configure with up to 16GB of DDR3 Memory[ii] (6GB Standard); 2x 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM SDRAM Slots

· Configure with up to 750GB 7200RPM drive[iii] (500GB standard) or up to 512GB Solid State Drive[iii]

o RAID 1 and 0, and Dual Drive options available

o mSATA Boot and Caching Drive Options available

· Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate available

· 1.3MP HD Camera with dual digital microphones

· Slot-Loading DVD drive (Standard) or optional Blu-ray Disc Reader

· Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di High-Definition 5.1 Audio with THX TruStudio Pro Software (Standard) or 2.1 Speaker configuration with Subwoofer Audio Powered by Klipsch; 7.1 Digital Audio out using HDMI out connection or S/PDIF Optical port

· Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Integrated Wireless-N with Bluetooth 4.0 (standard); optional WiMax configuration available

· USB 3.0 (2); USB 2.0; Mini-Display Port; HDMI 1.4 Output; VGA Port; 9-in-1 Media Card Reader; Audio/Microphone In; Audio Out; RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet

Alienware M17x
· 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 Processor Options

o Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache) (Standard)

o Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz (3.6GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

· Powerful NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Card Options

o 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M[ii] (Standard)

o 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 675M[ii]

o 2GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon HD 7970M[ii]

· 17.3" WideHD+ (1600 x 900 ) WLED LCD (Standard); optional: 17.3" WideFHD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD or 17.3" 120Hz WideFHD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD w/3D Bundle

· Configure with up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory[ii] (6GB 1600MHz Standard); 4x 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM SDRAM Slots

· Configure with up to 1TB (2x 500GB) RAID0 7200RPM drive[iii](500GB standard) or up to 512GB Solid State Drive[iii]

o RAID 1 and 0, and Dual Drive options available

o mSATA Boot and Caching Drive Options available

· Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate available

· 2.1MP FullHD Camera with dual digital microphones

· Slot-Loading DVD drive (Standard) or optional Blu-ray Disc Reader

· Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di High-Definition 5.1 Audio with THX TruStudio Pro Software (Standard) or 2.1 Speaker configuration with Subwoofer Audio Powered by Klipsch; 7.1 Digital Audio out using HDMI out connection or S/PDIF Optical port

· Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Integrated Wireless-N with Bluetooth 4.0 (standard); optional WiMax configuration available

· USB 3.0 (4); USB 2.0 and eSATA combo port; Auto-sensing jacks for Line-out (3); Microphone In; Mini-Display Port; HDMI 1.4 Output; HDMI 1.3 Input; VGA Port; 9-in-1 Media Card Reader; RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet

Alienware M18x
· 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 Processor Options

o Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache) (Standard)

o Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz (3.6GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3920XM 2.9GHz (3.8GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

o Intel Core i7-3920XM Overclocked Turbo Boost (8MB Cache)

· Powerful NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Card Options

o 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M[ii] (Standard)

o 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 675M[ii]

o Dual 2GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon HD 7970M - AMD CrossFireX[ii] (coming soon)

o Dual 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M - NVIDIA SLI[ii]

· 18.4 inch WLED WideFHD display (1920 X 1080)

· Configure with up to 32GB of DDR3 Memoryii or 8GB 1866MHz (4GB 1600MHz Standard); 4x 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM SDRAM Slots

· Configure with up to 750GB 7200RPM SATA drive[iii] (500GB standard)

o RAID 1 and 0, Dual and Triple Drive options available

o mSATA Boot and Caching Drive Options available

· Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate available

· 2.1MP FullHD Camera with dual digital microphones

· Slot-Loading DVD drive (Standard) or optional Blu-ray Disc Reader

· Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di High-Definition 5.1 Audio with THX TruStudio Pro Software (Standard) or 2.1 Speaker configuration with Subwoofer Audio Powered by Klipsch; 7.1 Digital Audio out using HDMI out connection or S/PDIF Optical port

· Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Integrated Wireless-N with Bluetooth 4.0 (standard)

· USB 3.0 (4); USB 2.0 and eSATA combo port; Auto Out Ports (2); Microphone In; Mini-Display Port; HDMI 1.4 Output; HDMI 1.3 Input; VGA Port; 9-in-1 Media Card Reader; RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet; Combo S/PDIF Optical output / Analog Headphone Line Out

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LG launches LG Cloud, blows raspberries at S-Cloud


Unique Cloud Service Offers Content Consumption and Seamless Connectivity via TVs, Mobile Devices and PC

SEOUL, APR. 30, 2012 -- LG Electronics (LG) announced the beta opening of LG Cloud service on May 1 with the aim of providing seamless connectivity and streaming access to all digital content across various electronic devices. Although cloud is today's hottest IT buzzwords, LG Cloud is the first that allows users to manage and consume all types of content on "three screens" which includes Android smartphones, PCs and smart TVs (including but not limited to CINEMA 3D models) without a separate set-top box.

To use the service, users need to download the LG Cloud app from Google Play or LG SmartWorld app store from their Android smartphones, LG SmartWorld store from their LG Smart TVs or the LG Cloud website ( from their PCs or laptops. LG's Cloud service automatically synchronizes smartphone content with the cloud server and the user's PC and TV. Photos and videos taken with the smartphone can be viewed and streamed to the PC or TV almost instantaneously. Videos edited on a PC can be uploaded to LG Cloud for viewing seconds later on a smartphone. Unlike other cloud services, there's very little waiting or lag time since the content is streamed to the TV, PC or smartphone, not downloaded first.

The difference is in LG's Real-time Streaming Transcoding technology. The conversion happens on the server in realtime, not on the device. There is no need to worry about installing codecs or converters, everything happens seamlessly and in the background with no involvement from the user. No other cloud service can make this same claim.

The service also works perfectly with 3D content. Vacation videos taken with an LG 3D smartphone can be uploaded via 3G or Wi-Fi to the LG Cloud service. Back home in the comforts of the living room, the family can watch the vacation footage as it streams from LG Cloud to their LG CINEMA 3D Smart TV in superb three dimensions.

To better develop cloud services that prioritize convergence, LG created a new division called Smart Business Center to focus specifically on content and services. Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company, is also responsible for the new Smart Business Center.

"Most companies today only see the cloud as a storage device or in the case of YouTube or Flickr, only for one type of content," said LG's Mr. Kwon. "LG makes the devices that millions of people watch content on so we can set a new yardstick for ease of use by setting up our own cloud service. Tomorrow's consumers don't want to go to one cloud for music, another cloud for video, another location for photos and yet another cloud for their office files. In the end, our solution is about making life more convenient."

LG Cloud will be offered as both a free and paid service. Free storage space and pricing will differ market to market and will be announced separately as the service becomes available in that country.

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Ceton's Media Center mobile apps are for all, app and Echo extender beta signups open now

Ceton Companion Apps Features:

Multiple platforms
iPhone (iOS 4.1+)
Android (2.2+)
Windows Phone 7 (Mango)
Works on any Windows 7 HTPC
Browse all of your media center libraries
Start playback of content on multiple devices
Manage and Schedule Recordings
Rich meta data for Movies and Television
Browse Premieres of upcoming television shows
Universally search movies, TV, guide, and more.
A whole lot more!

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BlackBerry Music Gateway hands-on (video)

By Brad Molen posted Apr 30th 2012 9:48PM


The music streaming accessory market is immensely saturated, but RIM is hoping to add its own flavor with its latest version of the BlackBerry Music Gateway. We took a brief look at this year's BlackBerry World in Orlando, and were impressed by both its size and ease of use. A tiny dongle no larger than the Bold 9900's display, the device easily pairs up with any Bluetooth-enabled phone, tablet or music player and lets you push your tunes into a home or car stereo -- provided it offers ports for RCA cables, that is. NFC is also added into the mix this time around, which means you can impress friends by simply tapping your BlackBerry to the Gateway to initiate the pairing sequence. While it's not bringing anything drastically new to the table, its $50 price tag makes it a tempting offer for anyone whose FM transmitter is picking up nothing but static in a densely populated city. If you fall into that category or are just looking for something to bedazzle close friends and relatives, don't hesitate to check out our gallery below and video after the break.

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Acer Iconia Tab A510 review


We'll stop just short of quoting Top Gun here, but if it's speed you crave, these next thousands of words could have you emptying your wallet. How's that for an opening line? To be honest, it's been quite some time since any of us Engadget editors booted up a brand new device and immediately let loose a stream of expletives -- all expressing unbridled delight, of course. Such was the beginning of our meet-cute with Acer's Iconia Tab A510, the company's first Tegra 3 slate, and the second to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Apart from that 1280 x 800 TFT LCD display, this 10-incher looks, feels and performs nothing like its predecessor, the A500. Turbocharged with that quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM, this Android 4.0 tablet joins a crowded category with a generous 32GB in built-in storage and a reasonable $450 price tag to match. So, does that excellence lose its luster with more extensive use? Is your money better spent on any of the other umpteen tablets running ICS? Will the lack of a higher-quality display prove too much of a con for your exquisite tech tastes? Follow on as we probe the A510 for answers.

Tablet design is unoriginal -- a complaint we've issued before and one we'll steer clear of in this review. So, consider this: when a manufacturer excises any emphasis on how something looks, the only thing left to focus on is how it feels. Though the A510 is flush with silicon at 1.5 pounds (680 grams), we're inclined to forgive that extra heft, since we get some jaw-dropping runtime in return (spoiler alert!). Besides, overweight or no, it manages to feel reassuringly grippy in-hand, at 10.2 x 6.9 x 0.43 inches (260 x 175 x 10.95mm). Sure, if you hold it in landscape mode the sharp edges feel a wee bit too sharp, but even so, it feels rigid, formidable. Much like the A200 before it, the tab's smooth back is made of a soft, matte plastic and studded with bumpy dots that should eliminate any worries you might have about dropping it. Curiously, the company's also slapped the Olympic logo next to its own, smack dab in the center of the back cover, underneath which lies that hearty 9,800mAh battery. Clearly, it's a case of pimping out public awareness of its London 2012 partnership, but here it just seems awkward and unnecessary; a scarlet letter of sponsorship instantly dating this debut.


Above that collision of corporate branding is a 5-megapixel rear camera -- the same one used on the A500, only this time it's lacking an LED flash. On the opposite end there's a logo for the Dolby Digital Plus audio compression powering the dual speakers tucked into the tablet's bottom edge. Hardware keys and ports are sprinkled around the perimeter of the A510, leaving no side untouched. A micro-USB socket and recessed reset button take up residence on the lower edge, a power button and 3.5mm headphone jack lie on the left, a volume rocker and orientation lock up top and, finally, HDMI-out and a covered microSD slot sit on the right. Acer isn't throwing in any external storage to complement the tab's built-in 32GB, so if you plan on heavy media consumption you'll want to supply your own card.

The A510's front face is the usual mix of bezel, branding and camera, although in this instance Acer's downgraded that module from the 2 megapixels found on the A500 to a measly 1 megapixel. We don't have to spell out for you what that means in terms of imaging performance, so take care to check your disappointment before we continue on to the camera section below. Once you've powered on the device and completed the initial setup process, the A510's speed becomes readily apparent, as does the relative excellence of the screen. Yes, the 1280 x 800 TFT LCD display has remain unchanged in this hardware refresh, bringing with it fairly good viewing angles that are, more often than not, occluded by its propensity for incredible amounts of glare. Wake the tablet from a dead sleep and you'll see the cold boot time hovers in the 30-second range. Even a year ago we were seeing tablets that could best this, but otherwise, the rest of the user experience here is surprisingly nimble and fast-paced.


What more can be said about Ice Cream Sandwich at this point, especially when that Android UI's dressed up in Acer's familiar UX? Yes, the interface here has been altered to include the same uninstallable ring launcher we previously saw on the A200. Nothing has changed in the jump from that lower-end slate to this one: you can still pull up that circular shortcut menu from the bottom of the homescreen, as well as access the gallery, browser, settings, bookmarked tabs or snap screenshots. We did notice, however, that while performance is generally zippy, this one particular enhancement suffers from uneven performance, waffling between an immediate and somewhat delayed response time. The lockscreen also features the company's subtle modifications, adding the ability to set shortcuts for specific apps.

As you might've come to expect, navigation throughout the five homescreens is carried out with a refreshing briskness that blessedly spills over into the app drawer, as well as the various menus peppered throughout Android 4.0. Browsing takes on the same rapid pace, with page load times ranging between 15 and 30 seconds for full desktop sites. Pinch to zoom also feels amazingly responsive, though we did notice some tiling and blank gray spaces as we waited for pages to scale.


You want an Android slate, you get some bloat. So, when you boot up the A510 and are greeted by a dozen-plus apps filling up its drawer, try to feign surprise and righteous indignation. It's all rather rote at this point. Acer's shoveled only a couple of its own applications onto the internal storage, along with various third-party offerings like Amazon's Kindle, MP3 and Appstore trio; Netflix; Polaris Office; Evernote; SoundHound; HW Solitaire; and TegraZone. Thankfully, at least, purists can easily uninstall all of these in the settings menu.

ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 ($379)

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 ($250)Linpack single-thread (MFLOPS)SunSpider 9.1 (ms, lower numbers are better)


Benchmarks are hardly the be-all and end-all in predicting a device's performance: their quantifiable results don't necessarily reflect a product's real-world experience. With the Iconia Tab A510, though, you can sweep away all of that uncertainty. Pitted against the Transformer Pad TF300, another recently released Tegra 3 slate, as well as dual-core contenders like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and the lower-end A200, this girthy tablet absolutely dominates. There's no doubt about the massive processing power of its 1.3GHz SoC and 1GB of RAM. In nearly every category, the A510 leapt ahead with decisive, crushing victories -- a string of wins that repeated themselves over and over in everyday use.


Its dominance may be unchallenged, but don't confuse the A510's top-dog ranking with consistently fluid performance. A quad-core CPU is not some magic wand an OEM gets to wave over its offspring to eradicate performance hiccups. As we saw with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) at MWC and the ASUS Transformer Pad we've just finished reviewing, there will be moments, fleeting though they may be, when the OS hesitates to execute an action. It's ever-so slight, but you will notice and wonder why, with all that horsepower under the hood, this forward-facing combination of Tegra 3 and ICS should stumble at all.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer PrimeT-Mobile Springboard (Huawei MediaPad)

By no means will you be disappointed with the juicepack Acer's included in the Iconia Tab A510. Rated for 12 hours of video playback, the 9,800mAh battery should get you through bouts of heavy use with a charge to spare and then some. The lightest of users will probably wonder when they ever actually have to plug the tablet back in, given that it only fell to half capacity after three days of infrequent browsing. Put through the paces of our formal rundown tst, the A510 fell a couple of hours short of the company's claim, but still kept a smile firmly planted on our faces as it racked up an impressive total of 10 hours and 23 minutes, putting it on par with Apple's iPad 2 and the Transformer Prime. Mind you, that's with brightness set to medium, Twitter syncing at 15 minute intervals, one push email account activated and WiFi enabled.


Taking photos with tablets not only looks silly, but it feels ridiculous. We throw that caveat out there because camera quality on Android slates is one of those areas best met by lowered expectations. To say the module on the Iconia Tab A510 is serviceable would be far too generous. Its 5-megapixel shooter takes decent shots with an acceptable level of detail that diminishes as soon as you start to zoom in. Colors -- reds in particular -- are rendered in an oversaturated, unnatural way, while other parts of the image appear dull in comparison. As for Acer's custom camera app, it delivers an uneven experience that demands a fair amount of juggling while you attempt to access the various options scattered about the screen. And you can forget the robust array of scene modes offered in other slates: the feature set here is plain and straightforward, almost as if it's acknowledging how useless it really is.

The A510 is also capable of 1080p video, but the finished product doesn't necessarily translate into the full HD experience you'd expect. Given the camera's lack of image stabilization, the shaky quality makes the video almost unwatchable, with the occasional crisp frame when the slate was being held still. What did blow away our expectations was the phenomenal power of its Dolby Digital Plus compression technology. As you'll hear in the sample video, the sounds of a far-off saxophone make a distinct cameo, as do pieces of various off-camera conversations. The downside to this stellar feature is the inconsistency with which it renders your intended audio -- namely, your own voice. We shot several sample videos and noted occasional elements of distortion as the tablet attempted to parse all that background noise.

So you're ready to take the plunge into the wild world of tablets, but where to start? No doubt, lots of first-timers are going to end up taking their credit cards and flinging them in Apple's direction. $500 for a 16GB iPad may be a steep price tag to swallow for some, but the simplicity of iOS make for a wise new purchase. You could also buck any pressure to have the next best thing and fork over four Benjamins for a 16GB iPad 2, though we've gone on record saying newcomers are better off splurging on that high-res Retina display.

But maybe you're not exactly a post-PC virgin, or you simply prefer Android to iOS. Luckily for you, you've got a plethora of options to choose from. For the sake of helping all the overwhelmed shoppers out there trying to make sense of the market, we'll narrow the field down to similarly priced 10-inch tablets running Android 4.0. For $400, the Transformer Pad TF300 is, in many ways, the A510's direct competition, loaded up with unskinned ICS, a Tegra 3 SoC and 32GB, though this, of course, is offered with an optional keyboard dock. The only downside preventing us from steering you directly to the Transformer is battery life. Though it managed eight-plus hours on a charge (12, if you count the $150 docking station), it's no match for the A510's ten-plus hours of runtime.

Meanwhile, if you cut the built-in storage to 16GB, lower the number of cores from four to two and keep the Android 4.0 software there's Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1). It costs $400, the same as the 32GB Transformer Pad TF300, and twenty dollars more than the Transformer with 16GB of storage. Cast in that light, it's not quite as compelling a purchase, is it?

Spec for spec, you're really left with only two contenders: the A510, which costs $50 more, or Transformer Pad TF300. Shoppers hell-bent on heavy multimedia consumption should probably stick with what Acer's selling, if only for the phenomenal performance of that 9,800mAh battery. Android purists and folks intrigued by the idea of a laptop replacement, on the other hand, might want to jump on ASUS' bandwagon.


We can still hear the echoes of NVIDIA's CEO teasing the prospect of $300 Tegra 3 tablets, but while the promise of that affordable future isn't quite a reality yet, impatient consumers eyeing quad-core performance have a readily available option: the Iconia Tab A510. Acer's succeeded in building a superb Android 4.0 tablet, and it's one consumers with a penchant for media consumption might want to consider. Alright, so it isn't the immaculate Tegra 3 conception Acer (or NVIDIA) might've wanted it to be, prone as it is to brief software fits, though we'll confess we've noticed similar bumps on the similarly priced ASUS Transformer Pad TF300, as well as the dual-core Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. So should those stifled hiccups enough to put you off the A510's Olympic-branded trail? They shouldn't. With its bleeding-edge quad-core performance, exceptional battery life and all the benefits of Ice Cream Sandwich, this is a 10-incher worth its slightly heavier weight. For those of you intrigued by the idea of a tablet that can also double as a netbook replacement, we still heartily recommend the well-performing, reasonably priced Transformer TF300. But if you're willing to invest in a dependable tablet and it's exceptional battery life that you're after, those $450 bucks stop here.


15-inch Samsung Series 7 laptops follow big brother across Intel's Ivy Bridge

By Tim Stevens posted Apr 30th 2012 7:41AM

v Image15-inch Samsung Series 7 laptops follow big brother across Intel's Ivy Bridge

Intel's bridge is a popular one and, while we don't know just what the toll to cross is, today the gatekeeper has a little extra change jingling in his pocket. Samsung is announcing that its 15-inch Series 7 Chronos laptops now offer Ivy Bridge processors, joining the 17-inch models that have already have made their way across. Thanks to a Samsung Canada leak last week, we knew the slightly more portable flavor wouldn't be far behind. NVIDIA graphics are onboard, joining the Core i7 processors and 1TB hard drives plus other pleasantries like backlit keyboards. No word on when these machines and their "uncompromised performance" will arrive at retail, but we hear getting over that bridge is the tricky part, so it shouldn't be long now.

Microsoft invests $300 million in new Barnes & Noble 'strategic partnership'

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Form Strategic Partnership to Advance World-Class Digital Reading Experiences for Consumers

New York, NY and Redmond, WA (April 30, 2012) – Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced the formation of a strategic partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which will build upon the history of strong innovation in digital reading technologies from both companies. The partnership will accelerate the transition to e-reading, which is revolutionizing the way people consume, create, share and enjoy digital content.

The new subsidiary, referred to in this release as Newco, will bring together the digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble. Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company's retail stores. Barnes & Noble has not yet decided on the name of Newco.

One of the first benefits for customers will be a NOOK application for Windows 8, which will extend the reach of Barnes & Noble's digital bookstore by providing one of the world's largest digital catalogues of e-Books, magazines and newspapers to hundreds of millions of Windows customers in the U.S. and internationally.

The inclusion of Barnes & Noble's College business is an important component of Newco's strategic vision. Through the newly formed Newco, Barnes & Noble's industry leading NOOK Study software will provide students and educators the preeminent technology platform for the distribution and management of digital education materials in the market.

"The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments," said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. "Microsoft's investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business."

"The shift to digital is putting the world's libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person's hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content," said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. "Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We're at the cusp of a revolution in reading."

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft's patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products. This paves the way for both companies to collaborate and reach a broader set of customers.


On January 5, Barnes & Noble announced that it was exploring the strategic separation of its digital business in order to maximize shareholder value. Barnes & Noble is actively engaged in the formation of Newco, which will include Barnes & Noble's digital and College businesses. The company intends to explore all alternatives for how a strategic separation of Newco may occur. There can be no assurance that the review will result in a strategic separation or the creation of a stand-alone public company, and there is no set timetable for this review. Barnes & Noble does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless and until a decision is made.

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