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On Feb 11, 2011 industry leaders Nokia and Microsoft announced plans to form a broad partnership that would utilize there complementary strengths. While there was nothing specifically stated about the future of the MeeGo OS, it appears that both companies will have there hand’s full and the chance’s of it ever making it into a mainstream OS competitor are stacked against it.
MeeGo itself is the product of a partnership between Nokia and Intel to try to bring the best of Maebo and Moblin together. Through borrowing the Moblin core, this should bring all the power of a full fledged OS, to mobile devices. With the integration of the UI (User Interface) from Maemo consumer’s can expect the same user friendly system we have come to expect.
Putting a personal touch on thing’s, Jozef Kocúr has displayed his easy to use UI concept for the MeeGo OS. As seen below, it features a side scrolling layout. Inside of this, each panel has a column. The very bottom of the screen has a menu with heading’s for Board, Applications, Now, Social, Media and System. The easy to read font, catchy icon’s and cohesive color scheme make this concept esthetically pleasing as well.
The concept makes MeeGo look phenomenal, and hopefully it will help to push the development forward. It has been announced that the first system’s with MeeGo on them will be released in the second quarter of 2011, hopefully they keep to this without delays!
In January ASUS was pleasantly surprised by the sales of their first tablet. At a price point on the high end of the spectrum for tablets, the Eee Pad 121 sold better then the executives were expecting. With the market only growing, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has announced plans for further development in the area of their tablets.
The first point of interest, is the 3D tablet utilizing a quad-core processor. This is expected sometime in 2011. The increase over the dual core processor will allow the tablet’s better picture quality, and to sometime in the future handle full HD.
The second point of interest is the potential release of this technology for Windows Phone in 2012. Currently, ASUS is focusing there effort’s on Android, but mention was made that support for the new Windows Phone looks promising. ASUS is currently awaiting for the development of the platform.
These are two very good step’s forward for ASUS, as they have made plans to become a dominant presence in the tablet market by the end of 2012. Other steps also include improving battery life, OS services, and avoiding dual camera’s on their tablet’s. The competition will be fierce, as Apple has long held the standard for first class product’s and services. Jerry Shen in not daunted by the prospect’s, even agreeing that Apple provides fantastic service for software. He does however, insist that ASUS has superior hardware, and I for one, am inclined to agree with him.
In an effort to attract new buyer’s for there new release product’s, Apple is offering a partial refund to the consumer’s who purchased an iPad up to two week’s before the iPad2’s March 2 debut. In simple term’s, if you purchased an iPad after February 16th, you are eligible to receive the refund. The refund itself, takes the form of money being credited back onto the purchaser’s credit card. A far more useful incentive then limiting it to a $100 giftcard so the Apple loving consumer’s can spend that money on Apple product’s again!
To get your rebate you will have to proceed to your nearest physical Apple location to get the refund processed. If you ordered online, you will have to phone Apples customer service representatives via there 1-800 number. These refund’s are not automatically processed, and it is up to you to contact Apple for it. So put this article to the side for a moment and pick up a phone, or drive in.
Unity is a young company by today’s standards, but they are rapidly proving that they can play in the sandbox with the longer established companies. At the Game Developers Conference this March, Unity announced their new plugin that will support 3D graphics in Web-Browsers for Android devices. The Unity plugin has been available for Apple devices for quite some time already, so it is only natural that the company would follow up Android.
What this means for consumers is that there will be no need to wait for long download times, or having to buy the DVD to install a game. This will all be supported through the browser plugin, providing more access for those that may not have the top of the line computer to play the latest games. Since we are dealing with playing 3D games in a web browser, some of the full effect will be lost. The amazing graphics need to be scaled down to fit in the browsers, where on a PC they would be utilized to their full potential. The availability outweighs this small deterrent though. Unity also has a development kit readily available, so developers can easily transfer their games into the new format so that the consumers can play! Keep in mind Unity games require Tablets with the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.
Another newcomer to the scene is also displaying a very strong plugin for displaying 3D games in web browsers. ShiVa3D has been working exclusively with a 3d browser plugin, whereas Unity is a general development company. Where Unity just announced their capability for Android, ShiVa has already been creating 3D real-time applications and games compatible with the system. While ShiVa appears to be more user friendly, the consensus is that Unity offers better developer support.
The market is slowly starting to become crowded as Adobe and Epic Games, Inc both get on board to offer 3D web browser support. Adobe angling to launch the ability to create 3D graphics in flash, which has traditionally been 2D. Epic Games is looking to expand on their Unreal engine to add more functionality and accessibility. Bringing their outstanding PC experience to Mobile devices.
Already on the market is WebGL, which is embedded in most browsers already and does not require a plugin. At least if you use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. Microsoft appears to be unenthusiastic about it though. So while WebGL is growing and becoming more accepted, it is hampered by Microsoft’s lack of interest, leaving the field wide open for the plugins.
In the spirit of free trade, this only bodes well for the consumer, offering more options and competition between the developers to all be the one to design the best system, for the best price, to get the most sales.
The first generation iPad has been well received by consumer’s everywhere, leaving a lot to live up to. Additionally, some major competition is threatening Apple’s hold on the tablet market. Apple is set to release the iPad2 in March, and there are many new features to delve into. These include, but are not limited to, better hardware, graphics, connectivity, and price.
Better hardware and graphics go hand in hand. Addressing these together, the major contributor is the A5 dual-core processor. It has been reported to be twice as fast that previously seen in iPads. Other hardware goodies include the addition of a gyroscope, bringing the iPad ever closer to the Microsoft Kinect, and two more camera’s for video conferencing. One camera in the front, so you can take pictures and edit them a la DS photo type games. The other camera is located in the back, and is capable of recording video at 720p.
Connectivity is more external. Featuring a HDMI out for HD video display. Yes, we will have to invest some more money to buy an adapter, but in the long run it is worth it to spend the $39 to get your iPad viewable onto your TV. This feature also transmits sound, so we can transfer that onto our amazing sound setups that come with most standard TVs.
The iPad is looking to corner the market price wise as well. Expected to give more value for your money then the competitors’ releases this year, Apple has gone one step further and also lowered the price of the original iPad. Prices range from $500 to $830 for the new iPad 2, and $400, to $730 for the iPad.
Now some things were just fine, and didn’t need to be changed. The display will be remaining at the 9.7” measurements. Continuing on with a 1024 x 768 resolution display for that screen with backlit LED. The storage size options are also remaining the same, at 16, 32, and 64GB.
To top it all off though, the iPad2 will be lighter, and smaller. Cutting nearly 100grams off the weight across the board. The thickness was also adjusted to be smaller. Going from13.4mm down to 8.8mm. So we get all these cool and awesome new features, and somehow the folk’s at Apple managed to re-arrange and squish them in to this smaller package. Overall the design hasn’t changed from the original iPad, though there will be a new color option available. All in all great things to look forward to!
Macworld did a great video on the first day at the conference, check it out.
The demo of Widows 8 appears to be on the horizon, with Microsoft recently passing an internal schedule point called “Milestone 2”. As we have seen previously with Microsoft releases of products this would place the release for the end of July. There would have to be a demo first, which there has been talks of June 2011. It important to note that Windows 8 is a working name that the public has dubbed it. There has been no official release of the name for the OS following Windows 7.
With Windows 7 still doing so well both in sales and customer satisfaction it does not make sense for Microsoft to release another operating system for PC’s just yet. All speculation point’s towards this first release being for tablet’s.
It has long been known that Microsoft has been struggling to break into the tablet market. Their new marketing plan appears to release the Windows 8 so that it looks a lot similar to the iPad, even though it stemmed from their own setup with Windows XP. It was initially designed for use of a remote, but is being re-purposed to work on touch. Also in the lineup of similarities are the specs. Hopefully Microsoft can make a break into the tablet world without coming too close to copying Apple.
Although there has been a prediction that the Windows 8 for tablets will be more business oriented, it has also been shared that it will feature its own apps, and app store. Is there that big of a demand for business oriented apps? It remains to be seen, though it would appear to be a missed speculation on someones part. Regardless, this is another feature that makes the OS look more like a copy of the iPad.
Getting back to the release it was rumored that there would be a demonstration at CES back in January. It was stated that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would unveil some part’s of Windows 8 during the keynote, alongside other Microsoft product’s Windows Phone 7 and Xbox. At the end of the day, all that was announced is that Windows 8 will be running on SoC chips such as ARM. Leak’s from Dell has shown that the company is working on a tablet that runs Windows 8.
Hopefully this will be the break that Microsoft is looking for to become a presence in the tablet world, and that it will be free of major delays, which is what has cost Microsoft that chance in the past. Here is to looking forward to the demonstration!
It has been a long standing tradition that Canada get’s the short end of the stick with regard’s to online media. Being that we share the same border, and are so close in term’s of business shouldn’t it be possible by now that The most obvious is if anyone on a Canadian IP goes to a major US network to watch an episode of a TV show online. A single example would be going onto Fox’s website and trying to watch Glee. An error message appears that states that this program is not available in your country. Popular Hulu.com also does not offer service for Canadian viewers. This also translates into music, with major online radio provider Pandora also being unable to play due to licensing considerations.
Now these are all fine and dandy, they are online and most people know they aren’t avail to Canadians. We get by, there are other options, its a free world and the internet is as infinite as the imaginations powering it. When purchasing an eReader you are not just signing on with the manufacturer of the technological hardware, but also the online stores, and support services. Due to more publishing complications, nearly a third of books that are available in the United States are not available in Canada. These aren’t just lesser known book’s either, these are some newer hit book’s that the publisher’s have just opted that we don’t get to have access to.
Further investigation also revealed that the companies themselves know about these availability deficincies. Apple’s iBook and iBookstore FAQ questions asks, “Is iBooks available in every country with an App Store?”. The response being. “Yes, iBooks and the iBookstore are available in all App Store countries. iBookstore content varies by country.”
Even look at Barnes and Noble, their popular Nook E-Readers are heads over tails better then most other ones out there, but try and order a Nook online to ship to Canada, no go. If you manage to buy a Nook via Shop e-Readers or Ebay, there is no way to even buy Books unless you fake an American address and use your real credit card.
Looking at the eBook and e-Reader industry leader Amazon, Canadians again get the shaft in eBook selection. The Canadian eBook store has around 530,000 books VS. the American version which has 760,000. Now you may think, its probably older titles or classics that fall through the cracks, not so. Authors like Malcolm Gladwell, whose best-selling books like The Tipping Point and Outliers are all available to Kindle users in the U.S. but not Canadians. Also to even buy the eBooks, you do not use Amazon.ca you have to use Amazaon.com and all books purchased are in US dollars, and not Canadian.
This doesn’t mean to say that the companies themselves are being malicious. There is legal restrictions in some countries as to what content can be sold, and going even a step further, some Author’s just don’t want to be published in more then one country. At the end of the day though it begs the question, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Hype is currently surrounding Apple as word is spreading that the mega company’s popular iPad is getting ready to launch a Newspaper Subscription Service. For the general reading public this is a great step forward, allowing increased accessability and hopefully affordability. The time a person can read the paper is no longer dictated by the time the paper carrier arrives, as well as the digital form of reading are typically offered at reduced rates, due to the reduced cost of delivery. For any Green reader’s out there it should also reduce the amount of paper that ends up in landfills un-recycled. Having already offered a bailout to the Magazine industry it is hardly a suprise that they would include Newspaper’s as well.
The success of a Newspaper is based on its circulation, how many copies are distributed on an average day, which a major deciding factor in its advertising rates. The Audit Bureau of Circulations is active in many countries with there North American and United Kingdom branches. The Bureau is an independent body offering advertiser’s a way to check that a publisher is delivering the numbers of their newspaper’s that they claim they are. Worldwide there has been a downward trend in circulation for many year’s for the Newsprint industry. Ever since the 1940’s when the Radio was introduced the Newspaper has suffered. This was then followed by the development of Television and then the internet followed suit.
However, in the face of adversity two evening newspaper’s in the United Kingdom managed to post an increase in the latest Audit released. Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool Echo posted a 0.7% increase, and Midland News Association’s Wolverhampton-based Express & Star up 1.5%. Within the United States, as of March 2010, the Wall Street Journal was up 0.5% as well. This made the business orientated paper the only major competitor to post growth, and allowed them to sneak into the number one position. The Wall Street Journal is also among the current American companies producing special editions for the iPad, which appear’s to be already making a positive impact for their circulation numbers.
There has been delays with the release of the Newspaper Subscription Service on the iPad, mainly with the negotiating of contract’s. Apple is asking for thirty percent of the subscription price for delivering the customer’s and managing the transactions. Apple would also like a slightly larger share of the pot with wanting 40% of the ad revenue, essentially working on commission. The publisher’s dont quite see eye to eye with this, and want to pay Apple a set fee. The publisher’s also want to retain the subscriber information, while Apple wants to keep control of this in iTunes. Publisher’s have observed the potential of the iPad offsetting the losses from the introduction of the competitive medium’s. Regardless of the final contract that is settled on; the new subscription service should breathe new life into the fading print Newspaper industry. Everyone Rejoice!
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