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Sony Table S And Tablet P To Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Updates

Sony Tablet S Android

The Tablet S From Sony

Sony has issued a statement, without much fanfare that they are going to upgrade both their Tablet S and Tablet P to the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version. This announcement was made in a very insignificant manner on Sony’s official online community forum. It comes as no surprises to the consumers though, as the company had already announced their plans to upgrade the compatible Sony Xperia Series phones to Android 4.0 starting March 2012.

The Sony Tablet S has continued to impress reviewers and users with its nice ergonomic built and lightweight design. Respected mobile analyst Sascha Segan in fact said that the Sony Tablet S was in fact one of the ”best-looking Android Tablets around” thanks to its wedge-shaped design that resembles a magazine. That in turn inspires a familiar feeling in the user when the tablet is held and used.

However, when it comes to features, the Sony Tablet S was somewhat deficient when compared to the other leading tablets in the market like the Apple iPad 2 and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Even though the two compared tablets are at either ends of the price spectrum, each has its own set of advantages and features that makes them leading tablets in their price points. The iPads are overall the largest selling tablets in the history of the industry in fact.

Android 4.0 was only released some time back and the only mass market device currently up for grabs with the OS inside is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone that bears Google’s co-branding thanks to the ‘Nexus’ name brand. However, competing manufacturers like LG will soon be launching their own smartphones with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and almost every manufacturer, including the likes of HTC, will be upgrading currently available compatible handsets to Android 4.0 at some point in the future.

Android 4.0 ICS is one OS that can run on both smartphones and tablets like Sony Tablet S. So there are also major plans for Android 4.0 tablets in 2012. Google has even announced they will be ‘marketing’ an Android tablet that is going to be of the “highest quality” — which has been read by the industry as an announcement of the first ever tablet from the ‘Nexus’ line of flagship Android devices.

Google has made its intentions clear about fighting tooth and nail with current top player Apple (iPad and iPad 2) for market share. The official statement from Eric Schmidt mentioned being in a “brutal competition” with Apple even though he expressed respect and admiration for what Steve Jobs and Apple have achieved together. In the end, he said that it can’t be helped because this is “capitalism”.

Android 4.0 upgrades have not been without their set of difficulties though. Since many of the phones run their own custom UI, like the TouchWiz UI on Samsung Phones or the Sense UI on HTC phones, many of them cannot support increased processing demands for Android 4.0 and custom UI at the same time. This is the reason Samsung had to announce that they cannot upgrade certain models because despite a 1GHz processor, the pressure is still too much for smooth performance.


JXD S7100 $140 Android Tablet For Android Gamers

The JXD S7100 is, believe it or not, a $140 Android tablet that actually has the hardware muscle to demand a comparison to the Galaxy S II. Coming from a Shenzen based company called Jin-X, this tablet is inspired from a number of different brands which includes Apple and Sony.

One look at the device and you will know that the device is basically a complete rip off of the Sony PSP design when it comes to the hardware design. You will even find the same symbols on the buttons — circle, triangle, cross and square. There seems to be a joystick even. The gadgets aim is simple to be an Android based tablet with a focus on gaming. And to that end it even comes with a special emulation software that allows you to run ROM based games.

The video trailer for this device happily shows off the device running Super Mario 64, Metal Slug, King Of Fighters ’97, Mario Kart 64, Tomb Raider and even super Smash Bros. You do not get to see such a collection on device trailers usually; and there’s a good reason for it too. Showing all of this in conjunction to marketing video of your product is a whole world of copyright infringement problems. But of course, when you are completely cool about blatantly copying hardware design from a popular product, you won’t be worried about a little thing as that.

However much we speak about the device copying from others, there’s one area where it really commands respect. At a $140 price point, it comes with 512MB RAM and an ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali 400 graphics. All of it put together it a formidable package that is absolutely unexpected that that price range. With this, you can play all your 3D mobile games without the tablet breaking a sweat. Of course all of those games would have to be happy with running on Android 2.2 because that is what the JXD ships with.

It also comes with a 7inch five point touchscreen that has a resolution of 800×480 pixels. Additionally, you get a 1080p HDMI out, WiFi and also USB support. You get 16GB of storage too. As if that wasn’t enough, you also get a 0.3MP camera in front and a 2MP camera on the back. So you can easily do you Skype video calls over WiFi. And even though it ships from China, it has multi-language menu support and hence should be usable for English speaking folk.

The JXD S7100’s makers Jin-X is known for making products that are blatant copies of popular mainstream products but this is possibly their best offering till date and one that people would actually want to buy. It is currently on sale from only two retailers who ship to the US — isharegifts.com and Chinagrabber.com — and both have the same dirt-cheap price. It comes in white and black and people might mistake it for a PSP — another added bonus.


Google Nexus Tablet Coming In Six Months, Might Affect Android 4.0 Device Sales

Motorola XYBOARD

Motorola XYBOARD 10.1inch On Verizon

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has announced the coming of the first Android tablet from the company. According to him, Google will start “to market a tablet of the highest quality” within the next six months. This is apparently their latest move in what Schmidt called “brutal competition” between Google and archrival Apple.

It has been taken for granted that the tablet will be a Nexus Tablet and that is what it is being referred to as. Google has not put forward an official name for it. It may be another company’s tablet as well, since Google will only be ‘marketing’ it. This is what happened when Google helped Motorola launch the first Honeycomb Android tablet in the form of XOOM. However, since XOOM 2 AKA XYBOARD was just released by Motorola, the chances of it being them again is highly unlikely. But there’s a counter argument to that too.

Google is now the part owner of Motorola Mobility and it makes business sense for them to utilize these resources in order to better build a tablet. Whichever company Google chooses to go with, it is still dependent on other companies to create the device for them. Apple on the other hand has the advantage of hardcore R&D that is extremely future-forward in its nature and is based on developing closely married software and hardware with the hardware being the main focus.

One this is almost certain though — given the time frame of the tablet it is likely that it will be using the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) OS. This is the first Android OS to have merged the tablet and mobile experience and brought it to the same version. Android 3.2 Honeycomb is confined to tablets whilst Android 3.3 Gingerbread is used for mobiles.

Schmidt also said his company is going to leverage their own voice recognition in this tablet in order to better challenge Apple’s voice-based personal assistant application Siri. Schmidt praised the late Steve Jobs, the founder and visionary behind Apple, calling him “the Michelangelo of our time”. Then added that it is still capitalism and their companies will therefore remain competitors.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese technology new source Digitimes reported saying Google’s Android Tablet plans might hurt the rest of the Android 4.0 ICS devices. These devices are often part of branded efforts where individual PC vendors are helping Google launch Android 4.0 ICS tablets during the first half of 2012. Digitimes attributed the speculation to unnamed sources within the PC industry in the report.

According to the report, the local PC industry in Taiwan (a large hub of PC vendors of different stratas) is worried about the possibility of the so-called Nexus Tablet running Android 4.1 while the rest of the market running on Android 4.0 ICS. This would cause most users to defer their tablet purchase till the Nexus Tablet becomes available. Now it remains to be seen how Google handles this conundrum.


iPhone 4S’ Virtual Assistant Siri Can Also Play The Piano

Siri Quotes

Siri Is Also Capable of giving very tongue in cheek replies!

Siri is the new virtual assistant found only on iPhone 4S. It is a voice activated, voice recognition AI that tries to interpret what the user is saying and work accordingly. It can be used to search for places to eat nearby, set appointments on calendar, set reminders, call people, etc. Developed by a combined effort of DARPA and several universities and institutes, it has wowed and entertained the whole industry ever since it was officially made available as an iOS app from Apple.

Inventor Craig Knudsen recently found out that Siri can also play the piano without any hacking or modification. She (Siri has a female voice) needs a WiFi connection to send a converted song file via AirPlay to an Apple Airport Express base station. From there on, the audio out of the Airpor Express is passed to a Yamaha Disklavier (a mere £30,000 piano) via an analog MIDI audio cable.

Knudsen is the developer of SmartKey for the Disklavier and he recently demonstrated this ability of Siri on video.
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLKUcUlutRk]

Siri still has problems understanding different accents but she continues to learn from her user whenever she does understand what is being spoken. Apple claims that the actually learns its user’s preferences over time and personalizes results and actions accordingly. The idea of an AI learning about our personal preferences over time might take time getting used to but the idea sure is appealing.

So far Siri has been able to play the pieces Rhapsody In Blue, Waterfall and As Time Goes By. And there’s no telling how many more pieces she can actually perform without any external input. What is interesting is that Siri is still in Beta, which means development work is still going on in the background. But given the amount of buzz that this single feature has generated, it is clear why Apple chose to release a feature to the public even though it is carrying a Beta tag. Apple, unlike Google, is not known for putting out its software for extended public Beta phases. Everyone will remember how long Gmail was in its Beta phase.

Siri is one of the premiere features of the iPhone 4S and many have upgraded to the new model just so that they can use it. It has also been the center of attraction for quirky replies that it gives out when asked questions like “What is the meaning of life”. One user decided to be funny and ask Siri “Who’s your Daddy!” and promptly got the following conversation: —

“Me: Who’s your daddy?
Siri: My Daddy?
Me: Who’s your daddy?
Siri: Now now,
Me: Who’s your daddy?
Siri: You are, now get back to work!”

Siri has even inspired entire threads dedicated to collection funny replies from the app. Here’s one such thread where the conversation above comes from — http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1793989.

Even though some people have called it a gimmick, Siri has helped push a lot of iPhone 4S off the shelves and that is ultimately what matters to a company. And no one can deny that it is useful to some extent and might get better with time as the Beta tag gradually comes off.


Samsung Galaxy Nexus On Verizon: A Quick Overview

Verizon Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE Official

Verizon Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE Official

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is Google’s latest flagship phone and is available exclusively from Verizon in the US. Since those who want an unlocked version of it will have to pay for an international purchase and shipping, Verizon is going to enjoy a good deal of monopoly for the time being.

Also known as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE, this I the first phone to be running Android’s latest 4.0 version — Ice Cream Sandwich. Yummy! Better yet, it is also connected to the fastest network available in the US — Verizon’s 4G LTE service. So it is a double win for the carrier and Google.

Coming to the hardware, the first thing you will notice is that this is a really large phone. The Verizon version is slightly thicker compared to the international version, owning most likely to a larger battery. It has a brilliant 4.65inch 720p (1280×720) Super AMOLED display that you will absolutely love and it is protected by a sheet of slightly curved fortified glass. It has connecting dots for a drop-in dock, headphone port and also microUSB. There’s a 5MP camera with LED flash at back and a 2MP camera up front.

Once you turn on the phone, the difference between the Android 4.0 ICS environment and the preceding Gingerbread one is quite stark. But not it is alienating and is in line with what is happening outside the Android realms. So modern users will feel right at home. And there’s also a handy manual to get started with.

There are two Verizon apps on this version of the super phone and they are actually quite helpful for Verizon customers. The over all UI of ICS is aesthetically pleasing and in line with the current OS design cues that are minimal and flat in nature.

Powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 dual core processor, you are in for a battery draining but really smooth software experience. And if you think that processing muscle is good for gaming, you are quite right. However, the high-resolution display is the one thing that slows the device down as compared to others running the same combination.

Given the larger screen, you would have a lot of fun playing most games. Genres like FPS, RPG’s etc. also open up really well on the added screen space here.

The camera hardware on the Galaxy Nexus is not half bad but then it is greatly augmented by the ICS software, which gives it the power to shoot really good photos both close up and wide. The combination of both allows you to have very quick repetitive shots. Not has quick as continuous shooting modes on even the most DSLRs perhaps but fast enough to leave other smartphones behind. As is the bane of every phone camera that has a small sensor, low light results are grainy at best.

Over all, this phone is something you can definitely look forward to for its great software/hardware combination. And if you are in the US, you can just stroll over to the nearest Verizon store to get one as long as you don’t mind a Verizon contract.


Nokia Windows Phone Event Coming Up In January For CES 2012, Lumia 900 Rumored To Be Launched

Nokia Windows Phone Event Invite for 9th January 2012 at CES las Vegas

Nokia Windows Phone Event Invite for 9th January 2012 at CES las Vegas

Nokia has sent out invites to the press for a January 9 event. This press meet will take place at the CES 2012 venue one day prior to the actual opening of the show. This meet is just beginning of Nokia’s CES presence, which is going to be quite big this time round.

Even though the invites do not mention what the press meet is about, it is clear from its design and text that the event will be Windows Phone focused. The design of the invite has Windows Phone Metro UI style tiles and has the slogan “Amazing Everyday”. This is the same slogan that Nokia uses to market its Lumia series of Windows Phone devices.

It is unclear what Nokia intends to do with such an important slot but rumors suggest that it is about to unveil a new Windows Phone model. Based on previous leaks and code references found in existing software, industry watchers are expecting the launch of a Windows Phone named Lumia 900 — the successor of the Lumia 800 and 710 models.

The Lumia 900 is expected to be a high-end device because that is the only category that is missing form the Lumia line. It is likely going to be tailored for the US market with future adaptations supporting other regions. Rumors are afoot that the phone will have a 4.3inch display along with network support for 4G LTE services on AT&T.

There have also been instances of a 4G LTE enabled Lumia 800 being tested on AT&T and Verizon and some are expecting more of an upgrade to the Lumia 800 to be announced at the event. However, many are of the opinion that this specific device is likely to be a test model for checking the viability of such a device on those networks. Hence it might not end up as a released product.

This years CES is in many ways a make or break one for Nokia if it hopes to retain and increase its presence in the US market. The company has been focusing on European and Asian markets for the near past, allowing relatively newer players like HTC, Samsung and Motorola to grab precious marketshare in the US instead. Now that the Finnish phone giant has shifted over to Windows Phone, they need to strengthen their position in the most active market for this platform — the United States.

As a part of this effort, Nokia is now in negotiations with US carriers as compared to its earlier stance where negotiations often broke down to Nokia selling their phones unlocked. Given the typical US consumer behavior, most people have come to expect a hefty discount on new phones by opting for lock in contracts with carriers. Unlocked phones sales are much lower compared locked ones — a hard truth that Nokia has had to swallow recently in the US after it woke up to its market share rapidly vanishing all around the globe.


Nyrius NAVS500 HD 1080p HDMI Digital Wireless Audio Video Sender Transmitter & Receiver System with IR Remote Extender Review

Nyrius NAVS500 HD 1080p HDMI Digital Wireless Audio Video Sender Transmitter & Receiver System with IR Remote Extender

Nyrius NAVS500 HD 1080p HDMI Digital Wireless Audio Video Sender Transmitter & Receiver System with IR Remote Extender

The Nyrius NAVS500 HD is a wireless HDMI extender kit that can send uncompressed HD video and audio signals wirelessly from the source to the display. It has a minimal lag, good image quality with brilliant colors and is very well designed.

This kit comes with an HDMI cable of its own and an IR extender for increasing the range of the remote control. It has a receiver and a transmitter and both require to be powered at all times to be operational. Since both are HDMI based, they have to be powered separately with their own power adapters. The HDMI technology does include bus power like USB does.

Once you connect the transmitter to your source (a set top box or a blu-ray player) and the receiver to your display (HDTV or HD projector), you can switch on the units. After connecting and switching them both on, the set up is completely automatic. Usually the pair does not take long to find each other. However, the process can go on for a few minutes depending on the setup and whether or not there is interference coming from somewhere.

The physical set up of the kit is easy because there’s no line of sight and it has a very long range — 1080p video up to 100ft. You can even the transmitter in the adjacent room and the connection will still be strong through a wall. Signal is expected to degrade as more walls and distance come in to play. The IR extender ensures that your HD devices can be controlled from anywhere within a wide range.

The Nyrius NAVS500 HD supports multiple resolutions. So you can broadcast full 1080p HD quality video as well as 1080i wide format videos, 720p, 720i, 576p, 576i, 480p and 480i videos. That covers almost all common video standards found in computers and home entertainment devices. If your computer/laptop has HDMI out, you can also beam that audio and video to your display. This kit has no visible lag and hence is perfect for playing HD games on a large screen. It also supports all of the popular gaming consoles like Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Buyer reviews suggests that it works with most TV boxes but you should check online to see whether this kit has any specific issues with your cable box. PC and console game players seem to have no delay problems and the same goes for people running movies off PC’s and/or DVD and Blu-ray players.

The overall experience with the kit is very good. The image quality is clean and sharp. The audio stays in sync at all times. User reviews talk about using this kit in multiple different scenarios and it works through them all. Thus, the Nyrius NAVS500 HD is a very good deal given its no frills high performance and reasonable price.


Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) Uncompressed 1080p Video/ Audio Wireless Transmission Kit Review

Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) Uncompressed 1080p Video/ Audio Wireless Transmission Kit

Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) Uncompressed 1080p Video/ Audio Wireless Transmission Kit

Brite-View has been quickly rising to the top with their wireless HD offerings in the past few years. The Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) is part of the Air SyncHD line that has been becoming popular amongst wireless HD enthusiast. This is a typical two-piece transmitter receiver kit for connecting an HDMI source with an HDMI display without running wires.

The main feature of this kit is its support for relaying the HD signal completely uncompressed. This makes for perfect images without any distortions or delays. It works to transmit HD signals at resolutions of up to 1080p with audio as well. It works at 1080p@60GHz and also supports the 1080i Wide format for that cinematic effect.

This kit has a range of 66 feet for 1080p@60Hz and requires line of sight for it. If you are going to use only 1080i, then the range expands to 100feet while still requiring line of sight. If you think that it is too far for you to get up and change the settings, don’t worry. The IR remote that comes along with the BV2322 has a good range and works well.

This Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) has another useful feature that allows hybrid transmission. This means you can send HD signals over the air as well as down the cables if you want to. The kit has extra provisions for you to also create a wired connection should it become necessary for any reason in the future.

Setting up the kit is absolutely the simplest thing. It is truly plug and play and there is no user intervention necessary. Once you connect both the units and power them, they will connect to each other automatically and within seconds. Once this is done, you can start broadcasting the video immediately. The long range of this kit makes it perfect for long distance set ups like installing a poolside TV for those summer afternoons of pool parties and barbeques. As long as you have maintained line of sight, it should be fine. Line of sight only means not having anything solid in between the two units. So an open doorway with people moving through usually causes no interference.

Compared to the other kits available in this price range, the Brite-View Air SyncHD (BV-2322) has a good long range and dependable image quality. It is also quite stable. The buyer reviews for the kit are really good and most people are happy about not having to run a hundred feet of cable. It is a lot cleaner way to do it. Also, concealing all that cabling professionally would’ve likely been far costlier. Buyers have specifically commented about the clear picture quality and the generally lag free viewing. Over all, if you are trying to get a simple set up for your extra TV or just trying to clean up your home theatre set up, this is a good option to bank on.


Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect Review

Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect

Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect

The Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect is a computer to Wireless HD wireless transmission kit. It includes a HDMI dongle that is plugged in to your laptop/desktop’s HDMI port and a receiver that has a HDMI output to which you can connect your HD TV or projector. Setup is completely painless for this kit. It is truly plug and play. Just plug the transmitter dongle and connect the display to the receiver and you are done.

However, both units need a constant power supply. The receiver comes with its own power adapter for this purpose. The dongle however needs to pull it from the computer’s hub. For this, you will need to plug an extra cable from the dongle in to one of your USB ports. So even though it is a completely wireless set up, it blocks up one USB port. Once both are powered up and running, the pairing happens automatically and there’s no intervention necessary from the user.

Running a WHDI chip in the background, this kit from Philips transmits uncompressed HD signals over the 5GHz band. This ensures that the kit does not interfere with other wireless devices or receive interference from them. The transmitted signal is maintained at 1080p at 60GHz, giving your pristine HD quality without the hassle of wires. Since this based on WHDI, there’s no visible lag and is a good kit to be using for gaming that requires real time response from your transmitter and receiver. The best thing about this kit is that it does not require line of sight and can be placed across a distance of 23foot (6 meters) range — which is enough for you to sit on the couch with your laptop and transmit the images to the TV or projector. It is definitely designed to connect devices within the same room.

Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect is designed to look very sleek. It has an over all dark finish that blends right in with the rest of your a/v equipment and sits in perfectly in most kinds living room décor. Its staid yet stylish looks are also similarly well-matched to a corporate environment. If you are presenting from an HDMI port equipped laptop to an HD projector — you can use this kit to avoid long wires in the boardroom. It is perfect for a permanent set up inside the boardroom of your company as well. Everything on your laptop will be shown at perfect 1080p HD. You can use it to either give you an extended desktop so that you can separate displays or you can mirror everything that’s happening on your screen.

Buyer reviewfor the Philips SWW1890/27 Wireless HD Net Connect in places like Amazon is quite positive. Users report enjoying the flexibility of a no line of sight setup and the great image quality that this set up provides. For the price, it provides really good performance and is very stable as well.