Monthly Archives: February 2011
Ran across a trio of interesting articles on the social impact of Facebook. First, psychological researchers at the University of Edinburgh have released the results of their survey of Facebook users, and report the social networking site generates a great deal of anxiety among its users – an anxiety which appears to increase with the number of friends a user has. Second, a disturbing report from Maryland, where the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has recently admitted to asking job applicants to submit their Facebook username and password. The department insisted the practice was a request rather than a requirement, a difference which most applicants probably wouldn’t find reassuring. Even though Maryland’s Attorney General has defended these requests, the department announced it was temporarily suspending the practice for 45 days shortly after the story broke. Finally, there’s the story of the Egyptian man who named his daughter Facebook – an absurd act at first glance, but, when you realize the naming was in honor of the site’s role in the Egyptian revolution, perhaps not so absurd after all.
There is still some time left for the purported arrival of the iPhone 5 but the rumor mills are already churning out stuff about how the iPhone 5 would look like. In the latest report to surface, a purported part of an iPhone 5 has appeared on a website (Chinese, obviously!) that sells Apple parts. The part is actually a digitizer panel said to be designed for the fifth generation iPhone’s touch screen. While its design is similar to that on the current iPhone 4, its screen area looks quite a bit larger than the 3.5 inch panel on the current iPhone.While people haven’t measured it yet, it looks quite close to being 4 inches across. This size would put the iPhone in the league of the likes of the Galaxy S and the Galaxy SII which have large displays that measure 4 inches and more.The iPhone digitizer seems to have a thinner bezel on all sides pointing towards the possibility of the phone getting an edge to edge display. This could possibly mean that Apple could squeeze in more screen real estate whilst keeping the size of the phone same as the current one. It is likely that the screen resolution may remain the same.Anyway, until now, what we know of the iPhone 5 is that it would arrive in both GSM and CDMA variants and that it could possibly feature a built in SIM technology. The processor is also likely to be upgraded with the rumored A5 chip. And of course, Apple is expected to finally fix the signal attenuation issues with this one!
HTC has finally taken covers off its new Android laden handset, the Merge. This device, which was leaked a couple of times in the not too distant past was delayed for a couple of months. Anyway, with HTC deciding to launch this one in the US, it now has quite a wide range of Android powered phones across all carriers in the country.This phone was earlier known as the Lexikon as it was called when it first leaked. Here’s also more info on this device being found on the Verizon Website. It gets Android 2.2, HTC Sense UI has a 3.8″ Display, 5MP Camera with a full Slide-out QWERTY keyboardThis is also HTC’s first CDMA World Phone.
Looks like Apple’s tryst with the Antennagate fiasco is far from over. Consumer reports, which had last year said that it could not recommend the then newly launched iPhone to consumers due to its reception issues has in a damning new report also blamed the new CDMA iPhone model to suffer from a similar issue.The Verizon iPhone 4 has a problem that could cause the phone to drop calls, or be unable to place calls, in weak signal conditions, Consumer Reports engineers have found in lab tests.If you were in a cave for the past year or so let us remind you that the "death grip" issue triggers when the user holds the iPhone in a way that covers the antenna band, located on the bottom of the left side of the phone. Apple’s solution back then included shipping free cases for all those who were affected by the problem – and a much more simpler way which asked iPhone users to “hold their phone right!"Anyway, with the CDMA iPhone 4, while most people thought that the attenuation issues might have been sorted, if we are to go by Consumer Reports’ studies, all is still not well.The special tests were all carried out in the controlled environment of CU's radio-frequency isolation chamber at our National Research and Testing Center in Yonkers, NY. In this room, which blocks interference from outside signals, our test engineers mounted each phone on a stand and established a continuous signal connection to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates the signals phones receive in the field. We then placed a finger to each phone in a range of locations around its edge, and monitored any changes to the phone's performance at each position.The tests conclude that the iPhone was the only phone affected by placing a finger around the outer band of the phone.For the same reason, Consumer Reports has like its older, GSM variant, not placed the Verizon iPhone in its list of recommended smartphones for its subscribers. This, even after it passed with flying colors in most other categories.Verizon iPhone user? You might want to let us know if things are really as bad as the report makes it out to be.[Via]
Apple has updated its lineup of MacBook Pros just a week before a scheduled event where the company is rumored to take covers of the iPad 2. The new refreshed Macbook Pro line up endows them with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge based Core i5 and i7 processors along with discrete graphics from AMD. Lets take a look at the line up now.Apple has rehashed all the models in the lineup – including the smallest of the lot – the 13 inch Macbook Pro.This product, which did not receive much of an update in the last upgrade, still ran the ancient Core 2 Duo processors. Thankfully, those have now been replaced with Intel’s new i5 chips. The new 13 inch Macbook Pro comes in two versions. The base version gets a core 15 processor along with 4Gb of RAM and with a 320 GB hard drive. The top end variant gets the Core i7 processor along with a 500 GB hard disk. These are priced at $ 1199 and $1499 respectively. The 13 inch Macbook Pro’s do not feature dedicated graphics – but come loaded with Intels HD 3000 onboard chipsets that has been updated to offer better performance.The 15 inch Macbook Pro’s are an all Core i7 affair. Like its smaller sibling, the 15 inch version too comes in two versions. Lower down in the price barrier is the base model that starts at $1799 and runs a Core i7 processor clocked at 2.0Ghz. The graphics card is an AMD HD6490M chip that gets a GB of VRAM. There is a 500 GB Hard disk that should be big enough to contain all your HD movies and files. The top of the line version on the other hand is priced at $2199 and gets a faster processor and a better graphics card. The HDD is upgraded to 750GB with options for opting for 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB SSD configurations.The 17 inch Macbook Pro, the largest of the lot is available in just one version and has been priced just $300 more than the 15 inch version. Apart from the larger screen, it also gets the same processor as the one on the higher end 15 inc model. The graphics chip too is the same one as the one seen on the high end 15 inch model – AMD HD6790M.All the models come with Intel’s Thunderbolt technology – a revolutionary new I/O interface that is 20 times faster than the USB 2.0 standard! The technology was until now known as lightpeak.The new lineup of Macbook Pro’s is already shipping. Head to the Apple Store for more dope!
There have been many light bulb shaped USB flash drives that have gone on sale in the past. But folks over at Geekalerts have come across this one that not only looks like one – but also lights up. The USB Light Bulb flash drive comes in three color options for you: blue, green, or orange. The drive lights up when plugged in and while it might not be bright enough to light up an entire room, this sure could be helpful in the dark.The LightBulb USB Memory features include:
The gadget can be bought from the Japan Trend Shop for about $62.
- Memory: 2GB
- Interface: USB 2.0/1.1
- Data speed: max. 480Mbps
- OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000
- Size: 30 x 62.5mm (1.2 x 2.5″)
- Weight: about 25g
- Includes: USB extension cable
Samsung’s researchers have come up with yet another first in display technology when they announced the creation of the world’s first quantum dot display. If you are still wondering what these displays are all about here’s a little explanation.
Quantum dot displays are capable producing much brighter colors than conventional displays cost less to produce and allows the manufacture of extremely thin displays. In fact, Samsung’s prototype quantum dot display measures four inches diagonally. The quantum dots in the display are turned on and off using a thin transistor film. This technology is versatile enough to be used in rigid glass as well as flexible plastic displays.
The stumbling block about Quantum Dot displays is that the technology is still in its infancy as of now with research just starting out. It would be futile to expect mainstream devices based on this technology at least in the next three years.
It was just today that Microsoft issued its first update to all of its devices running Windows Phone 7. The update, which acted as a primer to a major update scheduled for March seems to have run in to trouble already with some users reporting about bricked handsets and damaged phones after they run the update. So, if you happened to receive an intimation for the update, you might want to hold back a bit?The issue seems to particularly affect Samsung’s Omnia 7 devices and as of now there is no conformation whether other handsets too are affected. People have on websites like WinRUmor and even Twitter confirmed that the problem is pretty much real and has asked users to return their bricked phones to the store from they bought it and ask for replacement handsets.Microsoft has said that it is reviewing the situation. Hopefully they would be announcing the cause of the issue and as to what they intend to do to sort this out.
Windows Phone users around the world can heave a sigh of relief as Microsoft prepares a minor update to the OS. This update is largely believed to be followed by a major one that would copy-paste and multi-tasking abilities which the current OS lacks. Most Windows Phone users might see a pop up on your phone screens soon asking you to update when it becomes available.
That said, you are on the mercy of your carrier for the over the air version of this update.
Another major WP7 news is the fact that Angry Birds, the popular game on Android, iOS and Symbian platforms will finally be available for your WP7 devices as well.
We will be updating this post as when new information about this is available.
Its about time. Of late, there has been a string of rumors about the iPad and related news. The latest one amongst them says that the iPad 2 is likely to come as soon as next month. Usually, a hint that a product refresh is around the corner arises when the said product sells out and becomes unavailable at retailers. According to 9 To 5 Mac, this process has already started with some retailers in Europe.
To cite examples, UK’s official iPad reseller, Carphone Warehouse has completely sold out the 64 GB Wi-Fi only iPad. If that wasn’t all, Orange and T-Mobile have both reduced the prices of the 3G iPad by half! In Europe, you can now get £99.99!
Another reseller Ingram Micro is also now sold out of the 16 GB WiFi-only model, 64 GB WiFi-only model, and 64 GB WiFi + 3G model. In fact their stock of the 32 GB WiFi-only model, 32 GB WiFi+3G model, and 16 GB WiFi+3G model is dwindling too.
Do you think this is a good enough hint of the iPad 2’s imminent arrival?