DigitalOutbox Episode 118

DigitalOutbox Episode 118
DigitalOutbox Episode 118 – Yahoo, Internet Porn and the Samsung Galaxy SIII

Playback
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Shownotes
1:05 – Yahoo CEO Steps Down
– Scott Thompson hired from PayPal to reinvigorate the business, has been forced out over an error in his CV – which wrongly claimed he has a computer science degree.
– Lied about computing degree on his CV
– Apologised to staff, not for lying, but that this was a distraction
– He has seemingly been diagnosed with thyroid cancer which contributed to his decision to step down
– Thompson, who started in January, was initially praised by Wall Street for his first round of cuts – removing 2,000 jobs (from a headcount of around 14,000) in order to save $375m per year, saying that it was “an important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo – smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate.”
– He will be succeeded — at least for now — by Ross B. Levinsohn, the company’s head of global media.
– Mr. Levinsohn, who is most likely auditioning to keep the role on a permanent basis, has been with Yahoo since late 2010, when the chief executive at that time, Carol Bartz, brought him in to lead its Americas operations. He is now the company’s global head of media, overseeing Yahoo’s core multibillion dollar advertising business.
– I don’t really know what Yahoo is or does anymore!
6:36 – Internet Porn – Government to consult on tough new measures
– The government is to consult on tough measures to protect children from internet pornography. Under plans being draw up by Downing Street, it would be up to customers to “opt in” to receive adult content online when they take out a broadband contract.
– Campaigners have argued it is too easy for children to access explicit adult content on their phones and computers. Parents who want to ensure their children currently do not have access to internet pornography must opt out of services.
– But under the proposals, internet service providers (ISPs) will be forced to ask customers if they wish to access sites when they sign up for broadband. David Cameron is due to meet large ISPs to discuss the measures but he is understood to be against tougher controls on internet porn.
– Tory backbencher Claire Perry has accused internet companies of being “complicit” in exposing children to pornography. She said ISPs had been “dragging their feet” on reforming the way explicit material is accessed online.
– A report by MPs found 77% of women would sign up to having a default filter barring pornographic content.
– Nick Pickles, director of the privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, welcomed the consultation as a “positive step”, but said ministers needed to focus on giving parents the ability to restrict their children’s access rather than trying to censor the internet.
– is it not better to educate children and parents
10:46 – Apple rejecting apps that use Dropbox SDK
– Last year Apple caused a bit of a stir by forcing developers to remove links in iOS apps that allowed for external subscriptions or purchases to be made — unless the same transaction was also available as one of Apple’s in-app purchases. A new wrinkle in the policy has developed, with Dropbox confirming that third-party developers incorporating its service are now being rejected under the same rule “because we allow users to create accounts.” PandoDaily first reported on a support thread in Dropbox’s user support forums, with developers complaining that their apps are being kicked back by the App Store review team. The issue is the way Dropbox’s new SDK handles the authorization of third-party apps: it sends users to a page in Safari where they can grant access. However, that same page also allows new users to create accounts, after which they could drill down through Dropbox’s site and upgrade to a paid account.
– Dropbox initially tried removing a link to the desktop version of the site as a possible workaround, but the review team continued to reject apps. Earlier this evening, the company posted a version of its SDK that removed the ability to create a new account altogether. While Dropbox believes this should resolve the issue, it’s hardly a convenient solution for iOS users looking to add functionality, and should only further stoke the flames of controversy over some of Apple’s review guidelines.
– Protecting iCloud, punishing DropBox or staying true to it’s word that you can’t offer paid options from links in the app without offering in app purchase as well?
– Dropbox have now worked around problem – still pretty stinky
13:18 – Apple barred from using 4G when advertising iPad in the UK
– Apple has been selling the device billed “4G”, even though the 4G chip inside will work only on 700MHz and 2100MHz spectra in the U.S. and Canada.
– In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which regulates advertising, will on Wednesday publish an informal adjudication after receiving complaints from disgruntled customers, who said Apple’s claims wrongly suggested lightning-speed browsing.
– But the authority could open a new investigation in to whether Apple is mis-leading customers.
– Apple no longer using 4G in the UK store
14:29 – Facebook launches App Centre
– Instead of selling apps that integrate with Facebook, the new App Center will refer users to other app stores where they can buy them.
– What Facebook has announced is more of an app showcase. In addition to apps built on Facebook, it includes apps that use Facebook Login, regardless of whether they’re iOS, Android or web apps.
– Though you will find iOS and Android apps in the App Center, you will be directed to Apple’s App Store orGoogle Play to actually download the apps. Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will allow developers to charge for “apps built on Facebook” for the first time, but is not clear whether users will purchase apps directly from the App Center.
– Facebook’s App Center will launch on the web as well as within the iOS and Android Facebook apps.
16:58 – Facebook testing pay to promote
– Facebook is testing a new feature called Highlight that allows users to pay a nominal fee to promote their posts, making them more prominent in others’ news feeds. Last year Facebook raked in $1.14 billion in revenue, about 85 percent of which is from ads, but this would be the first time the site attempts to monetize ordinary posts.
– In a converation with Stuff, Facebook spokeswoman Mia Garlick confirmed the tests: “We’re constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends.” She also added that the company is testing the service at a number of price points, including free. The feature is similar to a new addition from Tumblr that lets users pay to promote their blog posts.
20:16 – Rdio launches in UK
– Similar to Spotify, listen to music on the web or devices
– No fanfare, just available with 7 day free trial
– Looks ot be more US centric with some new additions for UK market
22:14 – Samsung Galaxy SIII
– Major specs include a 4.8-inch PenTile Super AMOLED display at 720p resolution, 8-megapixel primary and 1.9-megapixel front-facing cameras with 990ms start-up time, 3.3fps burst mode, and best-shot selection (similar to the HTC One series), 16 or 32GB of storage (a 64GB version is coming later) with microSD expansion, Bluetooth 4.0 support, GPS with GLONASS reception, high-throughput 40MHz 802.11n Wi-Fi, NFC, and a relatively large 2,100mAh battery.
– The global version of the device will be using the recently-announced Exynos 4 Quad quad-core system-on-chip — regional variants could be using alternatives, just as the Galaxy S II did. The phone measures 8.6mm thick (136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, to be exact) which is actually a bit thicker than the S II’s 8.5mm. The global version will support 21Mbps HSPA+, though Samsung is quick to point out that certain local models will have 4G.
– Flipboard is exclusive to Samsung SIII owners on Android for a limted time
– 50GB of Dropbox space – double HTC
– Samsung says that Europeans can look for the Galaxy S III to launch on May 29th with the 32GB model as a Vodafone exclusive for the first month
28:13 – Games Update
– Diablo III launches at midnight tonight
– Max Payne 3 – some great early reviews, out friday
– Ghost Recon Future Soldier next week
– Trials Evolution and Fez – great arcade games, not forgetting Minecraft too

Picks
Ian
Bartender
– Free while in beta,
– Tidies menu bar icons
– Hide icons in bartenders own bar
– Can display an app if it updates for 5 seconds
– Really cleans up my messy menu bar

DigitalOutbox Episode 96

DigitalOutbox Episode 96
In this episode the team discuss the Facebook Timeline, Amazons New Fire and the Apple iPhone 4S.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
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Shownotes
1:17 – Facebook F8
– What Zuckerberg showed was a beautiful new Profile that is much more visual than anything Facebook has done before. To be honest, it looks a bit like a really nice Tumblr blog. It has three main parts:
all your stories
all your apps
a new way to express who you are – And it goes all the way back to when you were born.
– Music
– Greater integration with Spotify et all
– Tracks played are listed on Facebook – click on track and it will open Spotify and synchronise playback
– Spotify also open to all and gifting 6 months subs to all new users worldwide
– News
– News app’s will highlight what your reading on your wall
– Others can click and read post
– Can like etc from within app
– Guardian, Washington Post, The Daily partnering at launch
16:06 – HP Gets a New Boss
– Meg Whitman has been named president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, replacing fellow HP board member Leo Apotheker
– The move follows several months of angst capped by high drama in August, when Apotheker confirmed reports that the company might sell or spin off its big PC business and nuke its tablet effort. That, along with his plan to drop more than $10 billion to buy Autonomy Corp. PLC, sparked a furor that has yet to subside.
– Whitman was lauded for building eBay into an online auction powerhouse, but her later years there were marred by a disastrous $2.5 2.6 billion purchase of Skype in 2005. Two years later, eBay took a $1.4 billion write-off on that deal.
18:36 – Scots want .scot
– The Scottish government has asked the UK culture minister to back its bid for a .scot domain when applications for new top-level domain names open in January.
In a letter sent to Ed Vaizey today, Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment in Scotland, said that the .scot domain would bring together “a worldwide family of Scots” and give them a place “to demonstrate that identity online”.
– The new domain would pay for itself too, claims Neil, “we believe there is strong demand for a dot-scot domain and that it should be run as a public resource on a not-for-profit basis that will quickly become self financing.”
– The Scottish government has officially thrown its backing behind DSR, the Dot Scot Registry, a campaign group that has been preparing its bid for the domain since it was announced two years ago that new TLDs would be introduced.
– If it would pay for itself, why doesn’t the Scottish government buy it? Twats.
21:02 – Technology in the Docks
– An unfortunate 19-year-old last week received a harsh lesson in the subtleties of courtroom policy over photography. The teenager was sitting in the public gallery of Luton crown court last Friday when he received a message from a friend asking him where he was. To explain why he couldn’t talk, he recorded a shot on his BlackBerry’s camera and sent the picture to her of the courtroom. The police officers in the dock noticed.
– The phone was seized and the youth, Paul Thompson, was taken down to the cells under arrest. An hour later Thompson reappeared in court, was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to two months in prison.
– Swift justice, undoubtedly. Judge Barbara Mensah told Thompson:
There are notices all around the court building about not taking photographs in court. This is a serious offence and the message must go out that people cannot take photos.
– Contempt of court is one of those offences for which a wide range of punishments may be imposed. There do not appear, as yet, to be any specific sentencing guidelines on how to deal with snap-happy mobile users. Last September, the Ministry of Justice revealed that 24 people were at that time locked up for a variety of contempt offences.
22:23 – Mobile coverage expanded in £150m plan
– George Osborne has promised £150m of government money to get mobile coverage to 99% of the UK, ensuring even the most remote beauty spots will no longer escape the chirping of portable phones.
– The chancellor’s money, to be gathered from government department underspends, will ensure up to 6 million more people will be able to get a signal. Mobile coverage reaches 95% of the UK, although in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland masts only reach 90% of locations.
– The money will be used to pay for new masts, with procurement expected to begin next year. Osborne hopes to improve coverage for voice calls and data connections for internet services.
– Voice signals should reach more rural areas by 2013, while data connections will come when the networks begin to roll out 4G spectrum. The government’s auction of 4G airwaves is due to take place next summer, with faster data networks up and running by the following year, although there are fears it could be delayed.
26:04 – Amazons new Kindles
– Kindle Fire
– the Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet running Android and functioning as a “souped-up version of the Kindle.” To reach that keen price, Amazon has eschewed the integration of a camera, microphone or 3G, though the Fire will come with WiFi and a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. Prime membership typically costs $79 per year and grants the benefits of free two-day shipping and access to Amazon’s video-streaming service.
– the Kindle Fire has a Gorilla Glass-protected, multitouch-capable IPS display, a TI OMAP4 dual-core processor, and at 14.6 ounces (413g), a pretty lightweight frame. The resolution on that screen is 1024 x 600, same as on RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook, and the Kindle Fire’s physical dimensions are 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches (190 x 120 x 11.5mm). There’s 8GB of built-in storage and the battery’s rated to last for eight hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback (with WiFi switched off). A 3.5mm headphone jack is naturally included as is a pair of top-mounted stereo speakers.
– On the software front, we’re told that Amazon has “painted over the rough surfaces” of Android with its own, more accessible user interface and has closely tied the device with its content library. That includes the Amazon App Store, which has grown to number over 10,000 applications, and what’s described as a “lightning-fast web browser” running on Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing engine. Calling it Silk, Bezos explains that it splits the workload between the Kindle Fire and Amazon’s cloud, doing some backend hocus pocus to streamline what gets to your device. All other media and content on the Kindle Fire will also be backed up to the cloud, so you can delete things without a care. One final note of software import: the Fire supports Flash!
– Magazines, books, video, apps, games, music, web – A true consumption device all backed up to the cloud…for free
– In addition to all of the digital content we associate with Amazon, including video, audio, and Kindle e-books, the company has announced that the Kindle Fire Newsstand will stock “100 exclusive graphic novels” from DC Entertainment. Titles include Watchmen, Batman: Arkham City, Superman: Earth One, and Green Lantern: Secret Origin. If comics aren’t your style, you can look forward to seeing “hundreds of magazines and newspapers” available in Fire-optimized form, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, and a particular favorite around the Verge offices, Martha Stewart Living. As an added bonus, Kindle Fire customers will enjoy free three-month access to a selection of 17 Condé Nast publications.
– The Kindle Fire will ship in the US (and only in the US, there are no plans for an international launch yet) on November 15th for $199 and pre-orders are now being taken at the link below.
– Great at that price as well – really is a great shopfront for Amazon
45:01 – Samsung and Microsoft licencing deal
– They decided to cross-license their patent portfolios. This would better protect both companies from outside attacks moving forward.
Past that, Samsung will pay Microsoft royalties for all phones and tablets running the Android platform.
– 7th Android company to reach agreement with MS over Android
– Google aren’t happy:
– “This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”
– Microsoft’s response, via a tweet from Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw
– let me boil down the Google statement they gave to @parislemon, from 48 words to 1: Waaaah.
49:14 – Firefox 7
– Improved memory handling
– Improved performance
– Version 7? 4 came out in March this year!
50:47 – New delicious launches
– Delicious relaunch
– Now with stacks – group links together and share – looks more visual
– Buggy, RSS issues, some character issues
– Pinboard looking far better compared with the refreshed giant
51:30 – Adobe acquires Typekit
– Adobe has acquired Typekit
– Team will remain, Typekit will remain a standalone product, as well as become a vital part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
54:46 – Onlive Finally Launches in the UK
– Gamers will gain access to nearly 150 top-tier titles on Thursday asOnLive, the on-demand cloud gaming service, launches in the UK. Consumers can sign up for free at and stream triple-A games via almost any broadband Internet connection to their HDTV, PC or Mac. OnLive says the service will soon extend to iPad and Android tablets.
– OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman says the cloud-gaming service can offer game experiences on virtually any connected device.
– “OnLive is incredibly excited to bring instant-play, on-demand cloud gaming to the UK,” said Perlman. “It’s an entirely new way of experiencing top-tier video games, anywhere, anytime with awesome cloud-powered features and community unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
– Among the titles on offer through OnLive’s service are recent releases such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, DiRT 3, Homefront and F.E.A.R. 3. Players can also gain access to top-rated titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
– Gamers who sign up for OnLive’s services have several offers in front of them. First-time buyers can purchase their OnLive PlayPass Game for just £1.
56:51 – BBC coming to Xbox by year end
– Microsoft announce TV content deals for Xbox
– BBC, LOVEFiLM, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are all coming to Xbox Live later this year
– Finally
59:20 – Apple Keynote
– iOS 5
– Top ten features – Notifications, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter Integration, Newsstand, Camera, Safari, Mail, PC Free
– Free update, October 12th
– iCloud
– iTunes in the cloud
– Photo sharing
– Oct 12th for iCloud enabled iOS iWork apps
– New – Find my Friends – See where friends and family are, temp sharing option, simple privacy, worst looking interface ever
– iTunes Match – $25 a year, says it will stream music as well, End Oct for US, end of the year for other countries
– iPod Nano
– Updated
– Swipe between icons
– Tracks walks and runs
– Added 16 new clock faces due to popularity of watch cases
– $129 for 8GB nano, $149 for 16GB, available today – £115, £129
– iPod touch
– No 1 portable games device
– Now comes in white and black
– $199 for 8Gb, $299 for 32, $399 for 64 – available October 12th – £169, £249, £329
– iPhone 4S
– Same externally, all new internally
– A5 chip (not in the iPod touch!)
– 2x CPU, 7x graphic performance
– Improved battery life!
– Download speeds doubled – 14.4Mbps theoretical maximum
– Has both GSM and CDMA – a world phone finally
– Camera – 8 Megapixel, more light, high end IR filter, five element lens, 2-3 times quicker at taking pictures – quite an impressive camera upgrade
– Video recording – 1080p, real-time video image stabilization, real-time temporal noise reduction
– Airplay mirroring
– Siri – intelligent voice recognition – some great demo’s, whats the weather, read my messages etc – will it work with Glaswegian accent though? Answer that Apple! Can set up invites, query Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha – very nice. Dictation support as well – speak in your natural language
– White and black
– Same pricing as iPhone 4 – with 16, 32 and 64gb versions
– iPhone 4 – $99, iPhone 3GS – free
– Pre-order from Oct 7th
– Released – Oct 14th
– no iPhone 5, no Facebook blah blah blah
1:29:04 – Zune killed
– Zune finally removed from sale in the US, no new players will be launched

Picks
Henry
Machinarium
– Great game now out for iPad 2 (only – don’t buy if you’ve an iPad 1)
Visualize
– Free and paid options
– take photo’s and put them together in a montage
– scrapbook app
Ian
Frozen Synapse humble bundle
– Edge gave it a 9, describing it as a top-down, turn-based Counter-Strike…normally $25
– Supports multiplayer 🙂
– 55 single player missions
– There are a wealth of game modes besides – ones which demand territorial control, hostage rescue, or the plundering of data – each of which can be played ‘dark’, meaning that only the last known location of enemy troops is visible to you. Then there’s the matchmaking, in-built chat and integration with YouTube: this is a sizable offering. Yet, thanks to its gripping central tenets of simultaneous scheming and emergent multiplayer, you may never even notice.
– Pay over the average ($4.50) and you get Trine, Survivor and a couple of other games – total bundle price is $49
– Deal ends on October 12th
Chris
Chrome Experiments
– I have a feeling that I have already had this as a pick. But things have moved on. Incredibly impressive browser based demos, games, features experiments. WebGL has moved things on hugely. Unbelievable that they can now render in a browser what used to take a supercomputer weeks of computation.

DigitalOutbox Episode 81

DigitalOutbox Episode 81
In this episode the team discuss the iPad 2 Launch, Samsung and RIM Tablets and the Amazon Appstore.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
0:48 – iPad 2 UK Launch
– This time round, the basic, Wi-Fi only model with 16GB of storage will retail for £399, down from £429.
– The 32GB version will cost £479, the 64GB £559. Chuck in 3G connectivity and GPS, and you’ll pay an extra £100, as before.
– Dollar has weakened against pound in last 12 months though so Apple make more from this price point in the UK
– Massive queues in the UK – 600 at Glasgow store yesterday
– Very busy today – still selling iPad’s, only the red and orange cover out of stock
6:30 – Samsungs Revised Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9
– reworked Galaxy Tab rocking a slightly larger touchscreen over the iPad 2, higher resolution, a 1GHz dual core processor and lighter 595g weight compared with the 601g of the iPad 2 Wi-Fi. But the most important number of all is its price. Unlike Samsung’s overpriced predecessor, the 16 GB Wi-Fi Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will cost exactly the same as the iPad 2 Wi-Fi 16 GB: $499.
– this thinner, redesigned model reportedly felt much better in all respects, it’s still missing one key number, and that is the hoard of software Apple offers for the iPad 2, more than 60,000 apps specifically created for the platform. But that impressive number also includes the fart apps, too. Even so, Apple has a huge head start.
– Meanwhile, Samsung introduced another contender it calls the Galaxy Tab 8.9, a little more than an inch smaller than its big brother. It includes the same 1GHz dual-core processor, and looks just about the same as the 10.1-inch model, as you’ll see in the gallery below.
– Both of Samsung’s new tabs beat the iPad 2 easily in the camera spec department, with a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel up front, both shooting 1080p video. In what could be the clincher for many users, the Samsung tablets boast another capability lacking in the iPad 2: Adobe Flash playback.
– Want to try one? You’ll have to wait until June 8 for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi, priced at $499 for the 16 GB version and $599 for 32 gigs. Samsung was not as specific with the release date for the Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi, which it said would be available in “early summer” at $469 for 16 GB and $569 for 32 gigs.
– Best bit – photo of the iPad 2 next to the new thinner 10.1 shows the ipad was thinner – couldn’t be explained at the demo
11:17 – RIM Playbook
– RIM playbook launches April 19th in US – a few months later in UK
– It will ship with 2 app players that will run Android and Blackberry java applications
– Sounds…confusing
– Only supports Android 2.4 OS app’s i.e. app’s built for the phone, not tablet
13:05 – Amazon launches their Android Appstore
– Launched Tuesday 22nd for USA customers
– Android only
– Can Test Drive most app’s from your web browser. Click Test Drive and Amazon will launch an emmulated instance of Android on its EC2 cloud, which you’ll be able to control directly from your browser (it uses Flash).
– Free app of the day – Every day, Amazon will be choosing a premium application and making it free to consumers, giving people a reason to check in on the store on a frequent basis. This is made possible by the fact that Amazon, not developers, sets the pricing of each application.
– Amazon retains full control over how it wants to price your application. The setup is a bit confusing: upon submitting your application, you can set a ‘List Price’, which is the price you’d normally sell it at. Amazon will use a variety of market factors to determine what price it wants to use, and you get a 70% cut of the proceeds of each sale (which is the industry standard). In the event that Amazon steeply discounts your application, or offers it for free, you’re guaranteed to get 20% of the List Price.
– Angry Birds Rio is first free app
– Amazon will be undercutting Google’s own prices
– 8 easy steps to install the Amazon Appstore – http://carpeaqua.com/2011/03/22/8-easy-steps/
– Apple sues Amazon over use of the name App Store
– http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/22/apple_sues_amazon_over_app_store_name/
21:52 – Lendle
– had their Amazon API access revoked.
– Back up and running now.
– In business – need to be in control of key data.
– http://lendle.me/amazon-api-revocation/
– (Lendle is unfortnately US only for now.)
28:07 – iOS 4.3 Battery Issues
– Ian sees sub par battery performance on iPhone 4
– Others have too
– Disabled ping to see if that helps as it’s been tipped as an issue in various forums
– iOS 4.3.1 is now out – rumoured to address battery issues as well as publicised bugs
30:56 – UK 4G Auction Next Year
– New ‘4G’ network auction next year announced by Ofcom
– 4G refers to the next generation of mobile networks, which promise faster speeds, in particular for data.
– The sale, which Ofcom hopes will happen early next year, will involve two blocks of spectrum which should fulfil two purposes – making mobile internet coverage both wider and faster.
– The first block, the higher frequency 2.6gGHz band, should make all those smartphone users who are trying to watch video or play games online just a bit happier. It’s suited to providing large amounts of capacity over a compact area, so should help ease the congestion on city centre networks.
– The second block, the 800MHz band, is currently used for analogue television and becomes available next year once the digital switchover is complete. It is suitable for bringing mobile data services over wide areas, so it could mean that people in rural areas will find mobile broadband a better option than the fixed line variety.
– 3G auction raised billions, and this is 80% more spectrum – expectation is around £4 billion though
– UK falling behind – Yes, if we’re comparing the UK with Germany, the USA and Sweden, which have already started to roll out 4G networks. Ofcom admits that things haven’t moved quite as rapidly here as it might have hoped, but says it’s full speed ahead now. But even if everything goes to plan, consumers won’t see any 4G services before 2013.
34:43 – Wife says no, Apple says yes
– [Apple’s] focus this week has been to troubleshoot all the iPad 2s that customers are returning to the stores. One iPad came back with a post it note on it that said “Wife said no.” It was escalated as something funny, and two of the VPs got wind of it. They sent the guy an iPad 2 with a note on it that said “Apple said yes.”

Picks
Ian
Sky News iPad App
– Very ambitious app from Sky
– Free at the moment, will remain free for Sky customers but paid for everyone else
– Heavily focused on video which is very good quality and quick to stream
– Can browse a timeline of todays events
– Can also swipe for more detail – lose video but still here it – articles, photo’s, charts, graphics are then displayed
– Very impressed – excellent app
Henry
Wunderlist
– cross platform list app a la RTM.
– Andriod, iOS.
– Recent update has got rid of a few bugs.
– Email list items.
– Free (made with Titanium- javascript)

Day 1 with the Nexus S: Hardware

It’s here! In a nice, crisp white box, stuffed in a cruddy DHL delivery bag and dropped off at the door by a man in a Peugeot 206! DHL… delivering via an ancient hatchback? Strange indeed. But still, that was all forgotten with the excitement of getting my grubby mit on a new piece of hardware.

Not only hardware of course, but software as well.

So, lets start this series off by taking a once over on the hardware. I don’t really have a frame of reference for hardware outside of the iPhone – so I will have to compare it to that and I suspect that most would agree that the iPhone is the best kit to compare it to for the purposes of this series.

Without being turned on, the Nexus S has an amazingly dark look. The inactive screen is almost completely black and is indistinguishable from the surround. This gives an almost seamless look to the gently curving front screen. The reverse of the phone has a slight pattern to it, almost mock carbon fibre. It also has a slight bump at the bottom of the phone making it easy to grip in the hand.

The case is unmistakably plastic. That shouldn’t really be read as “cheap feeling” as it is a solid device, however, like a heavy watch always reassures you there’s a good mechanism below the surface, you might expect to feel a little more weight behind this device.

One advantage of the plastic and the shape of the phone, is that it is very easy to keep hold of! I’ve had my iPhone slip out my hand on a couple of occasions due to it’s sleekness and I can’t see this happening with the Nexus S.

Things really start to sing with the device once you turn it on. It has a AMOLED screen that absolutely screams at you with it’s vibrancy, resolution and unbelievable contrast. I realise that many other devices have got AMOLED screens and as such, this is nothing new, but this is the first time I’ve seen one properly in the flesh for any length of time, and it’s got me sold. It’s not as high resolution as the iPhone retina display, but it’s not a long way off. The blackness of the phone and the  darkness of the new look of Gingerbread mean that everything just pops out and the icons seem to float in nothingness!

The live desktop is a nice effect, with moving walpapers to keep things interesting. I’ll go onto giving an initial impression of the software in another article so I’ll try not to get too sidetracked at this stage.

Digging into the phones settings, you’ve got all the fancy equipment everyone has come to expect. GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Compass etc. So, as with the iPhone, the device can know where it it, at what angle and where and how it’s moving. The Nexus S adds Near Field Communication (NFC) to the parade – a communication for reading tags embedded in other objects. Think of the Oyster cards and some new credit cards. Also, know that it won’t really be a big deal for a good while yet. Probably until the iPhone gets it’s own NFC chip!

Also in the setting are options to turn the Nexus S into a mobile hotspot or to tether it to your laptop. For all the per-lava that surrounds this feature on iPhone and on mobile devices generally, it’s so refreshing to have an unfettered offering with all the extras available. This will surely be the first feature to be turned off by carriers when the next Gingerbread devices are available.

The in build speaker in the Nexus S is disappointing. The iPhone speakers – or device speakers per-say – are not that strong in general, but this speaker is particularly weak. The sound output of the phone through the jack socket is also low. I have to crank my speakers in the kitchen right up to get some decent levels whilst doing the washing up. The in-ear buds are fairly comfy for my ears (much better than the white Apple buds.) The sound is better through the earphones as you would expect and the volume is less of an issue, but I’m used to devices being able to blast you to smithereens if you so wish, and you can sit with the volume at full with no issues.

The phone is the right size. There are lots of devices out there that are getting bigger… getting on for comical. The Nexus S is nicely pocket sized and positively mobile.

So, an encouraging start with the device. Sound aside, everything feels nice and solid. Wi-Fi has been good enough across the house and the phone hasn’t struggled with any of the trials I’ve subjected it too so far. In fact, it’s been pretty faultless and very snappy. Comparing it to my creaking iPhone 3G is night and day. I’m confident that iPhone 4 users would appreciate a comparable speed of operation.

In the next part of the series, I’ll be looking at setting up the phone infrastructure – how can you recover the ability to sync your music collection and podcasts? What accessories are available? How do you get to use your phone as you are used to?

DigitalOutbox Episode 77

DigitalOutbox Episode 77
In this episode the team discuss Microsoft pwning Nokia, HP, Sony and Motorola devices and Guitar Hero goes bye bye.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
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Shownotes
1:11 – Microsoft and Nokia sign partnership
– Stephen Elop, Nokia’s recently appointed chief executive, said Nokia will use Windows Mobile 7 as its primary smartphone platform. Elop has also shaken up the senior management team, having warned staff this week that the company was standing on a “burning platform”.
– Speaking in London this morning, Elop said the partnership meant the mobile market was now a “three horse race”, with Nokia-Microsoft competing strongly with Apple, and Google’s Android platform. Mmmm – what about RIM?
– Under the plan, Nokia said it would use its expertise in hardware design, imaging and mapping to improve the Windows Mobile platform. The two companies will work together on marketing, and develop a common roadmap. Bing, Microsoft’s search service, will be integrated into Nokia devices.
– Nokia said it will continue to make phones running its Symbian operating system, thus “leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value”. Symbian, though, will be relegated to the status of a “franchise partner”.
– Job losses expected at Nokia
– Around 1000 Nokia employees walk out in protest – http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/02/nokia-employees-walk-out-in-protest-of-microsoft-deal/
– Elop wouldn’t promise that Nokia will remain profitable while the Symbian-to-Windows Phone transition takes place.
– Nokia Windows Phone devices will start shipping in volume in 2012 but under pressure to deliver this year
– Symbian phones still coming out over the next 12-18 months – who will buy one of these now? It’d a dead platform.
– Nokia shares…down 14%
– Microsoft allegedly handing over billions in this deal – http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9209259/Microsoft_to_pay_out_billions_as_part_of_Nokia_deal
– Elop referred to a slide that Nokia displayed last week that showed marketing resources and other investments flowing from Microsoft to Nokia as part of the deal. While speculation has had that number in the millions or tens of millions of dollars, the figure is actually much higher than that, he said. “In fact the value transferred to Nokia is measured in B’s not M’s,” he said.
– Elop’s first priority – beat Android
– So is it Microkia or Nosoft?
10:25 – HP Event
– HP Veer (no more Palm)
– http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/09/the-hp-veer/
– Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7230 processor at 800MHz.
– a 2.6-inch 320 x 400 display, 5 megapixel EDoF camera,
– HSPA+ support, 8GB of storage, an accelerometer, proximity and light sensors (as usual), Touchstone compatibility, and mobile hotspot support
– Cute and hands on from engadget and gizmodo say it’s fast – mini per2 has a lot to like
– Web OS 2.2
– HP Pre 3
– http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/09/the-hp-pre-3/
– QWERTY slider with the all-too-familiar form factor has a 3.6-inch 800 x 480 display (a marked improvement over past Pres)
– 5 megapixel camera with AF and LED flash, HD video, a front-facing camera for video calling, mobile hotspot.
– Qualcomm CPU running at 1.4GHz (!), HSPA+ and EVDO Rev A — yep, it’s a world phone — and the same RAM as the Pre 2 (that’s 512MB DRAM).
– Touchstone compatible, naturally, and will switch to Exhibition mode when docked to show pictures and upcoming appointments.
– availability is this summer with both 8GB and 16GB storage options.
– Web OS 2.2
– HP TouchPad
– http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/09/the-hp-touchpad/
– is shaped almost exactly like the iPad. It tips the scales at 1.6 pounds and measures 13.7mm thick,
– HP’s shipping this one with its own Beats audio engine, Touch-to-Share (a feature that lets users easily transfer a website, document, song, text or call from the phone to the tablet — or vice versa — simply by tapping the two devices together) and a huge reliance on the cloud.
– Other specifications include webOS 3.0, a 9.7-inch display (1024 x 768 screen resolution), a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon CPU (!), inbuilt gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and 16GB / 32GB of internal storage space.
– There’s also a front-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam, support for video calling, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, “twice the memory of a Pre 2” and a set of stereo speakers.
– There’s a new paneled email application a Growl-like pop-up notification system, plenty of cal / email integration courtesy of HP Synergy, a slick virtual keyboard, VPN support, wireless printing as well as Google Docs, QuickOffice, Dropbox and Box.net compatibility. One of the killer features that can’t be found on a competing tablet right now is this one’s ability to talk to the Pre 3 — so long as there’s a Touchstone involved, one can have their Pre 3 and TouchPad communicate, even piping over notifications and texts from the phone onto the slate. It’s a brilliant idea, and we’re obviously amped to see just how well it’s implemented.
– Wi-fi initially, 3G and 4G coming later, price – announced on later date as will availability (this summer).
– HP & Time do deal to bring mag subscriptions to TouchPad
– No mention on battery life.
– Gizmodo – The only major issue is the speed.This might be because of the fact that the TouchPad isn’t done, and has six months of development time left, but every app, every notification and every multitasking instance is kinda slow. Again, it’s not unusably slow, if you’ve used the Pre compared to a faster phone, say, a Nexus S or a Motorola Atrix or an iPhone 4, you’ll know how the TouchPad compares to the Motorola Xoom. This is surprising since the TouchPad has a 1.2GHz dual core processor, but, webOS has never been a particularly speedy OS.
– So the big three – price, battery, release date – nothing.
– RIP Palm
– One more thing – Web OS coming to PC market
17:22 – Motorola Xoom
– $800
– Feb 24th
– Feb and March are big for tablets – the Xoom sports an impressive set of features, many of which dwarf the iPad, such as two cameras, 1080p screen resolution and a HDMI output.
– Best Buy pre-order – http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computers-Promotions/Motorola+XOOM/pcmcat233400050016.c?id=pcmcat233400050016 – $1199 – DOA if thats the price
– Wifi only version coming to Europe in 2nd quarter
19:58 – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
– like the rest of the upcoming Android 3.0 tablets it’s powered by a dual-core Tegra 2 processor, will be available with 16GB or 32GB of storage, and has a front-facing 2 megapixel camera as well as a 8 megapixel imager around back.
– 1280 x 800-resolution 10.1-inch TFT display, and while it’s not Super AMOLED or Super AMOLED Plus quality, it looked quite bright at a variety of angles. We’d venture to say that Samsung’s using a similar panel as in the original Tab here, which is certainly a good thing. Surrounding the tablet you’ll find a SIM slot, 3.5mm jack, and Samsung’s proprietary charging cable. Sadly, there’s no USB or HDMI ports. The rear 8 megapixel cam has a LED flash and can capture 1080p video, while the 2 megapixel lens centered on the top bezel should suffice for those Google Talk Video calls.
– Launching in March in both Asia and Europe — Vodafone will be the first carrier to nab the Tab — but it had absolutely no timing details for the US market. Price? We’ve got no idea, though we’re told it will be “competitive.”
– Feels light in the hand, plastic but solid, grippy back rather than slippy
– Google experience device – no Samsung front end – pure Honeycomb
27:54 – Sony Phones
– Xperia Neo – able to plug into your HDTV via HDMI and can be controlled with a standard remote. The 3.7-inch screen on the device sports a healthy resolution of 854 x 480 and uses Sony’s Bravia graphics engine. The phone has a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash (and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera), and will be available in an array of colors (silver, red, and blue).
– http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/13/the-sony-ericsson-xperia-pro/
– Xperia Pro – a slider device with a full QWERTY keyboard. The device sports a 3.7-inch, 854 x 480 display (which uses the company’s Bravia graphics engine technology), runs atop a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, and is sporting SE’s customized build of Gingerbread (Android 2.3). The phone has an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, 2 megapixel front facing camera, and will be available in silver, red, and black.
– http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/13/the-sony-ericsson-xperia-play/
– run Android 2.3 Gingerbread on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with Qualcomm Adreno 205 graphics and display those games on a sizable 4-inch, 854 x 480 multi-touch LCD screen, the combination of which Sony says will provide 60 frames per second playback and manage up to 5 hours, 35 minutes of battery life in a single game session with the slide-out PlayStation Certified controller
– PS1 games plus Android games
– Available March
31:15 – How popular is Android
– Google I/O conference sells out
– Big deal
– I/O sold out in 90 days in 2009, 50 days in 2010 and 59 minutes in 2011
– Previous years has seen free handsets handed out, making the $450 conference fee a bit of a bargain – cheapest way of getting a development device without contract – we’ll see on May 10th, 11th later this year
– But previous attendees got to pre-register this year.
35:31 – Google 2 Step Verification
– Two-step verification offers a more secure way for Google to verify that you are who you say you are when you’re logging into your Google account on a new web browser, through a new application, or on a new mobile device. With two-step verification, your password isn’t enough by itself. As Google put it:
– 2 step verification requires two independent factors for authentication, much like you might see on your banking website: your password, plus a code you only use once.
Those two factors are:
– Your password (just like always)
– A single-use verification code that Google sends to your phone in one of three ways: 1) Using the Google Authenticator app available for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry, 2) via SMS, or 3) through a voice call (meaning you could even use a landline if you didn’t have a cellphone—basically the call would read off the code to you).
– Set up via your Google account page
37:51 – Google hitting the iPhone Hard
– Google Shopper now available
– Search via photo, voice, text or barcode
– Returns list of stores both off and online and best prices/availability
– Select shop, read reviews and in certain cases check stock
– Keeps history and can share results on Twitter, Facebook – what, no Buzz?
– Google Translate now available
– Speak to translate – voice input for 15 languages, translate a word or phrase to 50 languages
– Listen to translations – listen to translations spoken out loud in up to 23 languages
– Full screen mode to display translated text
– Still doesn’t have the conversation mode in android which translates ‘live’, speaking the translation
40:21 – iPlayer Apps
– Coming to iPad and Android
– iPad
– The new app takes better advantage of the touchscreen user interface, says the BBC, which is a popular feature on the “iPad-ified” website.
– Both the iPad app and Android app will offer live TV streams and radio, the latter which was never before available to mobile devices.
– Mobile users can also access the full BBC catalog of “catch-up” programs (TV you may have missed), seven days’ worth of TV and radio on demand and the “series stacking” feature that’s also available on the Web, this last item being a feature that allows viewers to watch older programs from selected series up until the series has ended.
– Android
– On Android, the iPlayer app will not be available for all devices, only on those running the Android 2.2 (“Froyo”) version of the mobile operating system and Adobe Flash 10.1. This is because the player’s Flash streams require “a powerful mobile phone processor and a Wi-Fi connection,” says the BBC.
– The speculation is that BBC had to implement the streaming service in Flash because of content provider pressure, not technical requirements. Content providers are concerned about pirating – that same fear is why the Netflix application for Android has not yet launched either.
– Not on iPhone, global iPlayer app coming later this year with a subscription service
– Video quality on iPad is excellent, live radio is nice, can shift audio via AirPlay, expect video in 4.3 (double click home button – eh?)
43:17 – Last.fm moves to mobile subscription model
– Free ride for mobiles is over – radio service will become an ad-free, subscriber-only feature on iPhones and Androids, starting February 15
– Cost is £3 or $3 a month
– Less than Spotify but with Spotify you can choose what you want to play – Last.fm does not let you play tracks on demand
– Last.fm Radio will remain free via its website and desktop app as well as for U.S. and U.K. users of Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 phones.
Last.fm Radio offers a personalized station, playing full song tracks based on users’ preferences. Currently, that streaming service is free in the U.S. and U.K. via an ad-supported app.
44:52 – Activision Job and Title Cuts
– Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and True Crime series all cancelled
– They can’t make these games profitable
– 500 job cuts
47:35 – Geek saves 172 BBC Websites
– User spiders and archives the 172 websites that the BBC is axing
– They then made all the content available via a torrent – http://178.63.252.42/bbc.closing.sites.archive.torrent
– The purpose of this project is to show how the entire 172 public facing websites that are earmarked for deletion have been copied, archived, distributed and republished online – independently – for the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee (around $3.99).” In other words, the cost-savings from the BBC’s gutting of its online presence: minimal.
The act also has a political side. “The purpose of this project is to expose the ‘cost savings’ of this proposed exercise as nothing more than a charade to appease the detractors to a strong BBC and to curry favour with the current government. BBC’s current senior management has demonstrated a lack of leadership and a lack of courage in pushing back on these demands.”
– But maybe the data won’t be deleted after all – http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/02/bbc_online_and_deleting_websit.html

Picks
Chris
SuperTooth Buddy
– Visor Handsfree BlueTooth device.
– No installation – simple clip onto visor and attaches via magnet.
– Auto connect – can connect to 2 different devices
– 20h talk time – 1000h standby
– Power, Volume, Pickup call, Stop call on face. Micro USB port for chanrgin at rear.
– Nice loud audio in car and voice pickup seems good.
– For multi-car / multi-device homes, a great simple solution to handsfree..
– Currently just a bit over £35 on Amazon.

Henry
GiffGaff
– the social mobile network.
– No phones, Just PAYG tarriffs from £5

Ian
Alupen
– Great stylus for the iPad
– £14

Jumping in bed with an Android

Google Nexus S
The Nexus S

OK, so since the beginning of the year, I’ve been harping on about how now is NOT the time to buy new phone. Well, I still say that is exceptionally prudent advice, with a lot of new Android devices on the very near horizon and also the new iPhone announcement coming along very soon.

But when has good advice ever taken precedence over impatience?

I cracked. Like Humpty Dumpty perched on top of a wall, it was inevitable really. It was a late night decision, but now on route to my humble abode is a shiny new Google/Samsung Nexux S. It should be here by tomorrow.

What I am convinced of, is that this is the right decision for a geeky mobile buyer right at this second, what I am yet to know, is whether the comfortable surroundings that Apple lays on with it’s iOS infrastructure is going to be missed, when it appears that you very much have to buy your own furniture with Android. Also, over the next couple of months we’ll hear all sorts of speculation on the new iPhone and then finally be marginally disappointed with it’s final offering. However, it will still be a mighty device no doubt, and it was what I was trying to tell myself to hold on just a few more weeks for.

But no. I’ve now plunged headlong into a 24 month contract with a new carrier and a brand new device and operating system. All my existing infrastructure that goes along with a smart phone these days (car holders, application purchases, computer setup, data syncing) will likely need tweaking or changing wholesale.

It’s going to be an interesting time. One that I am really looking forward to as it happens. And also one that I will document here on DigitalOutbox. There are many people out there in a similar position, perhaps looking to extract themselves from the all encompassing iPhone and I hope that this new series will highlight the plusses and minuses along the transition.