Sony’s Got A 13.3-Inch E-Reader With Pen Input, Which Is Sort Of Like A Dodo With Antlers

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Take photos under water with Sony Xperia ZR

Sony’s latest smartphone comes with a 13MP camera that is capable of capturing photos under water. The all-new Xperia ZR, the newest entrant in the Japanese manufacturer’s smartphone portfolio, comes with IP55 and IP58 certifications, making it waterproof (can withstand 1.5metre depth up to 30 minutes) as well as dustproof.

The new Sony XperiaZR has a 4.55-inch TFT HD Reality Display with 1280x720p resolution and 322ppi pixel density. It runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and packs a 1.5GHz quadcoreSnapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB RAM under the hood. Onboard is 8GB storage, along with microSD card-based expansion up to 32GB.

On the back of the phone is a 13MP camera with LED flash, whereas a VGA front camera is in front. Connectivity options in the new phone are 2G, 3G, 4G (market specific), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. It is powered by a 2,300mAh battery and comes with Battery Stamina Mode to improve standby time.

XperiaZR’s display features Mobile Bravia Engine 2 technology as well as OptiContrast panel. This eliminates the need of an extra touchscreen layer by integrating the touch sensors on the panel, making the phone slimmer. The screen also features a shatterproof sheet to make it resistant to breaking in case of a fall. Features for sound enhancement in the phone are 3D Surround Sound, ClearAudio+ mode and xLoud Experience.

Key specs:

Display: 4.55-inch TFT HD Reality Display with 1280x720p resolution and 322ppi pixel density;
Operating system: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean);
Processor: 1.5GHz quad-core CPU;
RAM: 2GB RAM;
Storage: 8GB internal storage, 32GBmicroSD support;
Connectivity: 2G, 3G, 4G (market specific), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC;
Camera: 13MP rear camera with LED flash, VGA front unit; and
Battery: 2,300mAh

Download HD Movie In One Second (Samsung Claims 5G Mobile Breakthrough)

Credit: Reuters

Samsung Electronics said Monday it has made a breakthrough in developing mobile technology for fifth-generation networks, though it expects it will take years until the service is brought online for subscribers.

The South Korean company said it has found a way to transmit large volumes of data using a much higher frequency band than conventional ones in use, which would eventually allow users to send massive data files at a much faster speeds through their mobile devices, “practically without limitation.”

The technology could easily gain fans among phone users routinely sending and receiving large amounts of data. With 5G networks, for example, users would be able to send super-high-definition movie files in a matter of seconds, according to Samsung.

The fastest wireless technology in operation – 4G or long-term evolution – has yet to be widely adopted world-wide, and the next immediate phase for the standard is likely to be a shift to “4.5G” networks, analysts say. Many networks still employ 3G.

Samsung has eyes on commercializing 5G technology by 2020, matching a recently set target by the European Union. The EU announced earlier this year a plan to invest 50 million euros in research to deliver 5G mobile technology by 2020.

Many mobile operators are still transitioning to 4G wireless technology and they would have to be as swift in deploying the next-generation wireless data networks for the transition to 5G to materialize as planned, analysts note.

“The competition for technology leadership in next-generation mobile communications development is getting increasingly fierce,” and Samsung “believes it will trigger the creation of international alliances and the timely commercialization of related mobile broadband services,” the company said.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Group Play Music Demo

A demo using 2 Samsung Galaxy S4 of group play. The music is played through both phones and you can control the volume and what phone is what speaker.

Get your Galaxy S4’s screen on your TV

Find out how to mirror your phone’s display on your TV so that you can enjoy music, video, and games on the big screen.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Despite the ever-increasing screen size on Samsung’s Galaxy line, some types of media beg for a sit-back, big-screen experience. It could be a YouTube video, or just a little something you shot (and even edited!) on your phone. And, as more developers support this option, mirroring can even enable you to play games on your TV while your phone acts as a controller.

The S4 offers a few ways to mirror your phone’s screen (not just media) onto your TV, so that whatever you see on your phone is what appears on the TV.

Depending on which accessory you use, the setup can be wired or wireless, with each solution offering its own unique benefits. Find out which scenario suits you best.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Wired mirroring

A lesser-known feature, the S4’s micro-USB port actually doubles as an MHL-out port, letting you output HD video and 7.1 surround sound, all while charging your phone. With this wired connection you’ll be tethered to your TV, but the benefit of that hard-wired connection is that you get glitch-free mirroring, since wireless mirroring can sometimes give you tinny audio and laggy video.

This setup isn’t ideal for quick switching between short YouTube videos or sharing a photo slideshow, though. Ideally, you’d use this wired method for playing a movie or a longer playlist.

To set it up, you’ll need Samsung’s MHL-to-HDMI adapter.

But before you hook up the cables, there’s a little setup on your phone. Head to Settings > My Device > Accessory; tap “Audio output” and tick “Surround.” Now, using an HDMI cord, connect the MHL-to-HDMI cable to one of your TV’s HDMI-in ports, and your wall charger to the input on the side of the adapter. Finally, switch the input source on your TV. Anything you see on your phone will display on the TV, and any audio will output to your home-theater system.

(Credit: Samsung)

Wireless mirroring

Dig through your S4’s Settings panel and you’ll see a “Screen mirroring” option without an explanation of how it even works. After some sleuthing, it turns out the feature works two ways: with (surprise) Samsung TVs or with Samsung’s AllShare Cast dongle.

Mirroring doesn’t work with just any Samsung TV, though — the feature will become available only on 2013 Smart TV models that haven’t yet been released. So, if you’re not willing to wait, or a new TV isn’t in your future, consider using Samsung’s dongle instead.

The dongle, available at a discount from Amazon, adds that wireless mirroring and media beamingfeature to any HDTV. To set it up, start by connecting it to your HDTV and switching to that source input. When the light on the Hub blinks red, press the reset button and it’ll turn blue.

Then, on your phone, go to Settings > Connections > Screen mirroring. Turn the feature on, and after a few seconds, the dongle should appear in the device list. Tap it, and your device will start mirroring in the big screen.

Besides playing audio and video, wireless mirroring also packs a little surprise for gamers. Some games, like Dungeon Hunter and Real Racing 3, offer a second screen experience, displaying the game on your TV and turning your phone into the controller.

GALAXY S4 Official TVC – Sound & Shot

Why Apple should develop Android apps

A lot of users have soured on iTunes, but some people — including Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak — think it would benefit Apple to bring it to Android.
(Credit: CNET UK)

 

Back in March, I read a story by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg called “How Apple Gets All the Good Apps.” It was mostly about why Apple’s rivals — Google, Microsoft, and others — have brought their apps to the iOS platform while Apple didn’t reciprocate the gesture.

Mossberg described the situation as obviously lopsided in Apple’s favor and that it “stemmed from the different business models of the big rivals.” Apple, after all, makes the “vast majority” of its money through hardware sales while Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, he said, are primarily software and services companies, even if those companies also make some hardware products. Apple, with over 500 million iOS devices sold, was too big for rivals to ignore.

All that’s very true. However, nothing was mentioned about whether, in the long run, it might be a bad idea for Apple to keep some of its key apps isolated on its own platform as Android devices continue to grow in popularity.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Shrinking competitive advantage
I don’t how many iOS devices Mossberg owns, but I’ve acquired a lot of them over the years. At the same time, I have my share of Android-based devices, and I know plenty of people who live in a mixed-device household, especially with all the cheap Kindle, Nexus, and Nook tablets to choose from.

 

The conventional wisdom is that Apple has the best selection of apps and the majority of exclusive apps. But that list of iOS-only killer apps has shrunk in recent years and months. Consider Instagram’s eventual transition to Android, which was so wildly popular that it was a factor in Facebook’s billion-dollar acquisition of the photo-centric social network just a few days later.

Indeed, as Time’s Harry McCracken reported recently, Android and iOS are very evenly matched across the board: each platform boasts around 800,000 apps. And the Android world still remains comparatively fragmented — device compatibility isn’t a given. Of course, the iOS world isn’t as monolithic as it once was — certain new apps won’t run on older devices.

But while Android may have a larger overall population of users, iOS users are the ones who tend to pay for their apps. That’s why app developers still tend to prioritize iPhone and iPad first — it’s where the money is.

The bottom line is that many consumers are sitting on iOS app collections worth hundreds — and in some cases, thousands — of dollars, creates an incentive for folks to stick with Apple devices. It’s a competitive advantage — a fairly lopsided one, according to Mossberg, so why should Apple bother changing things? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Well, for starters, I’d argue that it’s not as big a competitive advantage as it once was. It hasn’t stopped millions of people from buying cheaper Android smartphones. Apparently, the Google Play store is good enough. Google has its own exclusives, or at least it has some apps that offer more features on Android than on iOS (Google Maps, Google Now, Google Voice).

Apple-only becoming less appealing
On a personal level, while my day-to-day smartphone remains an iPhone (the 4S), I’m finding myself using Apple’s apps less and less (by that I mean the ones Apple makes, not third-party developers’ apps). I’ve almost completely stopped using iTunes, having shifted over to music subscription services (Spotify, Rdio). I don’t buy books from iBooks because I know I won’t be able to view them on any other devices. And I stopped using iCloud because I kept exceeding my storage limit and Apple kept asking me for more money (I’ve gone back to manually backing up my iDevices).

Setting aside a discussion of the deficiencies of iTunes and iCloud, my larger point is that I’m being drawn away from Apple apps because I don’t want to feel cornered by them. There’s a bit of complicated psychology at work here, but sometimes offering up a little freedom can create a tighter bond.

I’m not alone. I think that in future, as we live in more mixed device households, consumers are going to demand more freedom to move easily from one platform to another. And I’m not just talking about portable devices. There are game consoles, as well as “smart” TVs and set-top boxes like Roku. Hardware may be where Apple makes the bulk of its profit, but in the long run it behooves the company to have people use its software (and shop in its e-stores), no matter what device they’re on.

Google develops apps on iOS, controlled by its archrival, Apple.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

 

The irony is that Apple’s biggest competitors have already done this: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Samsung all make apps for iOS. True, Microsoft’s crown jewel, Office, remains a no-show, despite persistent rumors. But Google has embraced iOS — the apps for Maps, search, and Gmail keep getting better and better. The company understands that even if it loses the battle — because the user bought a non-Android product — it’s winning the war if that same consumer ends up using that Apple hardware to access Google’s wide range of cloud-based services. They’re still a Google user, seeing ads from Google clients.

The same goes for Amazon. That company’s books, music, and video apps are on iPad and iPhone, making it all too easy to bypass iBooks and iTunes. Indeed, if Apple’s not careful, more folks will move to Amazon’s or Google’s platform-agnostic suite of apps as their “hub” and feel less tied to Apple’s — and Apple in general.

Apple’s killer apps…for Android
With that in mind, here are the apps I think Apple should bring over Android devices. I’ve mentioned them already, but making them bullet points will help highlight them further.

 

  • iBooks: The iBookstore has progressively improved, but it just seems silly to restrict yourself to reading your e-books on Apple devices when you don’t have to. The Kindle, Nook, Google Books, and Kobo apps are available on multiple platforms, including iOS. Maybe Apple doesn’t care that much about the e-book business, but I think it would help bring more users into the fold if it was platform agnostic — or as Amazon likes to say, “Buy Once, Enjoy Everywhere.”
  • iTunes: To expand its audience for iPhones and iPods, Apple was willing to bring iTunes to Windows machines. So why not Android devices, particularly as Amazon continues to make its aggressive push into both music and movie downloads as well as streaming video? Heck, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is for it, saying in an interview last year on Slashdot that, “I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products, too.” (Note: With a third-party app, you can already sync your iTunes library with an Android device).
  • iCloud: In theory, iCloud is a great concept. But due to its limitations, users are still gravitating to the Dropboxes of the world — which allow for cloud access for photos, documents, and contacts — from many devices. Hopefully, we’ll see a new, improved iCloud as part of iOS 7 later this year. But in the long run, if Apple expects people to pay what it’s asking them to pay for iCloud, it should be a much more flexible service that includes support for other platforms.

 

Yeah, I know the odds of Apple ending its app isolation are a longshot. And yeah, I know Apple has a lot of disdain for the inelegant, fragmented world of Android.

But remember: the iPod didn’t really take off until Apple created iTunes on Windows. Yes, that was a different era — Apple the underdog, Microsoft at the height of its powers. But it worked out brilliantly for Apple.

This time, Apple would be working from a position of strength. Why not roll the dice on Android?

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