Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Apple's iTunes Christmas Giveaway!

iTunes customers in Europe will be be able to download music, movies, TV programmes and apps for free over the 12 days of Christmas. This offer will run from Sunday, December 26th 2010 until Thursday, January 6th 2011. An app is available in the App Store which will alert you to the free offers with push notifications.

No word yet on whether US iTunes users will get a similar deal.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Google Latitude available in iTunes

Google has just released a new app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Latitude is an app which allows you to track the location of your friends. It uses iOS4 multitasking to run in the background and constantly broadcast your location to all your friends. I'm not sure many people would be keen on this app and while it would be really useful sometimes, such as when you're meeting friends, a lot of the time it could be seen as a simple invasion of privacy. There are options to hide your location and also manually set a location which could lead to some interesting suprises...

iPad alternatives

The Apple iPad is widely accepted as the first successful tablet computer. It has sold 7.5 million as of 30 September 2010 according to Wikipedia. This figure is well above any of it's competitors. The iPad built upon the success of the iPhone and uses the same iOS operating system. It is only recently that there has been any real threat to the iPad's dominance and the release of the iPad 2 may seal the iPad's dominance in the tablet computer market.

But are there any real alternatives?

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab
This 7 inch Android powered tablet is currently the iPad's strongest competitor. It has many of the same features as the iPad and is around the same price. It's a well designed, professionally built tablet featuring, Wifi, 3G connectivity and a very responsive touchscreen. However it is powered by Android, an operating system created for much smaller devices. It also has very few apps that run on it as many Android developers have not embraced it. Although it is better than the iPad in some ways (it's smaller and lighter and has a micro SD card slot) it hasn't seen anything like the success of the iPad.

2. RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
Research in Motion (RIM) are a company which has seen little success in the touchscreen phone market. They seem very attached to the physical qwerty keyboard when all other manufacturers are moving to newer technology. Despite this fact they have decided to produce a touchscreen tablet known as the BlackBerry PlayBook. The PlayBook have joined Samsung in creating a 7 inch tablet which is also significantly smaller and lighter than the iPad. The PlayBook has front and rear facing cameras, a big advantage over Apple; on the other hand it will not feature 3G connectivity. The PlayBook is due to be shipped in early 2011.

3. Motorola Honeycomb Tablet
This tablet, which will be powered by the forthcoming Android Honeycomb, has just been announced. The name of this this tablet has not been announced by there are 3 possibilites: Stingray, Everest or Trygon. The hardware on this tablet will include a decent 32GB of flash memory and  1GHz Tegra 2 T20 processor. This is a real iPad competitor as it will be the first tablet to use a version of Android created specifically for tablet computer.s
 HP Slate.

There are other tablets on the market but they simply aren't up to the standard of these tablets. While the Galaxy Tab is a great product, it is ahead of Google and the operating system it's using just isnt suited to the larger screen size. The release of the PlayBook and the Android Honeycomb next year will cause some major shifts in the Tablet computing market.

Android Honeycomb to be released in 2011

So far Google's Android has been a mobile operating system entirely for phones. This will all change in 2011 with the release of Honeycomb, the successor of Gingerbread. Honeycomb will be a version of Android specifically for tablets.There's not much detail so far but you can be sure that this will change the tablet market place significantly.

Friday, 10 December 2010

First news of Windows 8, Codename Wind

The next version of Windows is reported to have two user interfaces. The main one is currently codenamed "Wind", will only be available on 64 bit systems and will have full 3D capabilities. This user interface will adjust and customise itself to the user, adding and removing icons, and will autosave all documents and hibernate in less than 6 seconds. Betas are predicted to be released in 2011 and the full retail version in 2012.

Source: WinRumours.

HP enables 6 more printers for AirPrint

Today HP has enabled AirPrint functionality on 6 more of its printers. Steve Jobs said, in an email, that there were lots more printers coming to join the 12 that were originally enabled. 18 printers is an improvement but if the technology is going to take off there's got to be some major increases in number.

If you don't have one of these printers then you can still enable AirPrint. Follow the instructions in this article on how to enable AirPrint.

iPad 2 to feature rear-facing camera

While this has been an expected feature of the second generation iPad, having been anticipated with the leaked case pictures, Reuters has today been the first high profile news outlet to confirm a second camera. They had a total of 3 sources, one of which also indicated that the iPad would be thinner and have a higher resolution screen (another two pretty likely improvements).

Thanks to MacRumours for the news.