Monthly Archives: March 2011

Dell slates iPad business potential as Microsoft exec suggests tablet appeal short-lived

If you can’t beat ‘em, slate ‘em. iPad 2 demand remains sky-high, but that hasn’t stopped Dell from sniping at the Apple tablet with the suggestion that it had failed – and would continue to fail – to penetrate the enterprise market (and coming up with some spurious figures to try to illustrate that). Meanwhile, Microsoft is casting doubt on whether the tablet segment as a whole is going to stick around at all.

 

Speaking to CIO Australia, Dell global head of marketing for large enterprises and public organisations, Andy Lark, argued that “open, capable and affordable will win, not closed, high price and proprietary” and suggested that the initial burst of enthusiasm around the iPad was a short-term thing. The tablet’s price and the limitations of Apple’s ecosystem in working with other enterprise hardware, software and services are his primary criticisms:

“Apple is great if you’ve got a lot of money and live on an island. It’s not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex. An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you’ll be at $1500 or $1600; that’s double of what you’re paying. That’s not feasible.” Andy Lark, Dell

Still, it’s hard to see how Lark’s figures add up. Even taking into account the fact he was likely talking in Australian dollars (the iPad 2 begins at AU$579 in Australia) you’d have to be choosing some pretty expensive peripherals to reach $1,500-1,600. Even the top-end, 64GB iPad 2 WiFi + 3G (at $AU949) paired with Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and a leather Smart Cover only comes to less than $1,130.

As for Microsoft, global chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie has admitted recently that “there’s an important distinction – and frankly one we didn’t jump on at Microsoft fast enough – between mobile and portable” reports SMH; however, the exec also casts doubts on whether tablets are likely “to remain with us or not.”

“Mobile is something that you want to use while you’re moving, and portable is something that you move and then use. These are going to bump into one another a little bit and so today you can see tablets and pads and other things that are starting to live in the space in between. Personally I don’t know whether that space will be a persistent one or not.” Craig Mundie, Microsoft

However, Mundie did not go on to say what exactly he believed would kill off tablets, whether that would be more capable smartphones, lighter and longer-running notebooks, or something else. Microsoft’s Windows 7 OS, while found on several tablets in the market, has failed to grab attention or market share away from the iPad.

GALAXY Tab 10.1 & 8.9 Hands-on [CTIA 2011]

It’s hard to argue with the fact that the iPad 2 sent Samsung rushing back to the lab to try to squeeze some bulk out of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but then it’s also clear that both the 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 slates are appealing hardware in their own right. Each slimmer and lighter than the second-gen Apple, they’re as close to Star Trek style sci-fi tablets as we’ve seen so far, making Motorola’s XOOM look fat in comparison.

Unfortunately Samsung’s CTIA 2011 samples were so hot off the prototyping line that we weren’t allowed to turn them on. The company demonstrated its newly updated TouchWiz UX for Honeycomb on a hands-off prototype, and thankfully it doesn’t appear to be the wholesale reskin that we’re familiar with from Samsung smartphones – and which generally slows down core OS updates – but rather a new set of dynamic homescreen widgets and controls which slot into Honeycomb.

http://asset.slashgear.tv/sgplayer.swf

As Motorola did with recent versions of MOTOBLUR on Android smartphones, the TouchWiz UX widgets can be resized more flexibly, as well as intermingled with regular Google widgets and shortcuts. As long as it doesn’t impact subsequent OS upgrades, we can see it being a popular interface.

Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 and 8.9 Hands-on


http://asset.slashgear.tv/sgplayer.swf

Physically, the tablets are everything you’d want from a portable slate, with the 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab being particularly appealing for its balance of size and high resolution. At 1280 x 800 it gets the same number of pixels as its 10.1-inch brother, which will make for a rich, dense screen in a bag-friendly chassis. Samsung isn’t talking specific chips for its 1GHz dual-core processor, which leads us to assume that it could be the same mixture of homegrown Exynos and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2.

GALAXY Tab 10.1 vs GALAXY Tab 8.9 vs iPad 2 vs. XOOM


http://asset.slashgear.tv/sgplayer.swf

Yes.

Rogers Nexus S dummy units arriving in stores

Although we’ve known this was coming for quite some time — and despite nobody having an official launch date — the Samsung Nexus S will be hitting Canadian carriers any day now. Google has updated their Nexus S pages, and now dummy devices have started to arrive at some Rogers locations. Oddly, though, the units are said to be arriving with no information to accompany them. We’re guessing we’ll just wake up one day and they’ll all of a sudden be available. Thanks, you know who!

Hands-on with Android’s in-app billing


Youtube link for mobile viewing

In-app billing for Android is a pretty simple thing, really. Say you’re playing a game and want to buy a new level, song, weapon — whatever. All it takes is a couple apps, and you’ve got the new level, song, weapon — whatever.

We gave it a go on Tap Tap Revenge — you should remember our early look at it back at the Honeycomb event at Google HQ. And indeed, it’s simple enough. Tap on the song we wanted to purchase, confirm the purchase, and we’re on our way. (That was the easy part — Tap Tap Revenge itself is something of a confounding application, or maybe we’re just old and couldn’t handle all the flashing lights.)

Anyhoo, look for in-app billing to really take off in the coming months.

Android Market in-app billing enabled: Try-and-Buy apps, extra levels, more

The Android Market has had in-app billing enabled, allowing developers of Android apps to offer upgrades, virtual goods, extra levels in games and other services from within their titles. Using the same checkout system as the Market itself, Google will take the usual 30-percent cut from developers’ proceeds and do all the hard work when it comes to processing. The system will also allow for try-and-buy apps, offering a test period of use and then the ability to unlock the full title rather than having to re-download the app.

 

Google has worked with the developers behind Tap Tap RevengeComicsGun BrosDeer Hunter Challenge HDWSOP3 and Dungeon Defenders: FW Deluxe to demonstrate the in-app billing system, and the updated versions are now available in the Android Market. There are more details for developershere.

[via Android Community]

Gmail mining Priority Inbox, more, for targeted ad campaigns

Google’s Priority Inbox for Gmail may help you find the messages you’re interested in quicker, but it’s also a new source of personal preference information that the search giant can mine so as to show you more appealing adverts. Google has quietly announced a new push for “better ads in Gmail” which will take into account attention and interest in how it decides which contextual ads to display.

Video after the cut

 

“For example, if you’ve recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting. On the other hand if you’ve reported these messages as spam, you probably don’t want to see that deal” Google

Meanwhile, TechCrunch spotted that “Offers and coupons for your local area” are one of Google’s suggested uses for the new system, something Google itself claims isn’t yet operational but will eventually part of the local push. This could well be linked in with Google’s mobile payment plans.

The company is quick to point out that the service is all automated and no Google employees actually read your email, but it’s nonetheless likely to provoke the usual privacy arguments as users quail over the thought of their personal content being used to shape advertising. Usefully, then, there’s an opt-out control for those who have had the personalized advert system turned on, which allows them to shut down the so-called “importance signals.”

Amazon Cloud Player prompts streaming spat as labels explore “legal options”

Amazon’s Cloud Drive and streaming Cloud Player services dropped earlier than expected; the rumors had only really begun to coalesce a few days before, claiming the online retailer was struggling with the same content owner licensing issues that were plaguing Google and Apple. Instead, it seems, Amazon pushed ahead with the launch and simply expected the labels to fall into line. That, unsurprisingly, isn’t going down well, and despite Amazon’s protestations, it looks like the labels are readying themselves for a legal fight.

 

Asked whether it was negotiation new licenses for the cloud-storage services, Amazon told AllThingsDthat it felt it did not need them. ”We do not need a license to store music in Cloud Drive” it argues, “the functionality of saving MP3s to Cloud Drive is the same as if a customer were to save their music to an external hard drive or even iTunes.”

However, while Cloud Drive – the remote storage part of Amazon’s proposition – is one matter, the content streaming of Cloud Player, with clients available for PC, Mac and Android, is another. That seems to push the company into streaming, which, Sony Music reckons, demands a new license. “We hope that they’ll reach a new license deal,” spokesperson Liz Young told Reuters, “but we’re keeping all of our legal options open.”

According to music industry sources, Amazon only informed the record labels of the Cloud Player plans last week, leaving discussion of potential licensing issues until later on. So far, nobody has suggested that Amazon is actually doing anything illegal, and the frustrations appear to be the retailer’s cavalier attitude toward communications. Still, with Apple and Google both expected to launch their own streaming services this year, you can bet the content owners are looking closely at how they could take a cut of the cloud-streaming pie.

Nintendo 3DS Sets One Day Sales Record

Nintendo has said that the new 3DS handheld game system has set a day-one sales record. Specifically, the company said day one sales were “the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in our history.” They have not provided specific sales figures at this time, saying they reveal first-week sales figures for the system on April 14th. The 3DS seems to be avoiding the shortages which occurred with the Wii, and there are plenty of 3DS handhelds in stock at Toys R Us, Target, and other retailers.

The company said they “worked hard to get as much product as possible to retailers on day one to meet demand, and we will continue with these efforts moving forward.” So even if you didn’t have the foresight to pre-order a 3DS, you can probably just pick one up at your local store with no problem. The glasses-free 3D system has a lineup of 3D games available now as well, and a Toys R Us representative said that Super Street Fighter IV, Pilotwings Resort, and Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars were all selling well, especially with the retailer’s “buy one, get one half off” offer.

For more on the 3DS, be sure to check out our full review. Have you tried it out yet? What do you think?

[via Game Stop]

 

Prediction: Windows Phone 7 to be Number 2 Mobile OS by 2015

Yes, that’s right. According to a new IDC forecast for the smartphone market, Windows Phone 7, now the number 5 mobile OS and holding only a 5% marketshare, will shoot up to the number 2 spot just three years from now. The number one spot, according to the forecast, will be kept by Android. Forgive us if we’re a bit skeptical.

In such a fast growing and rapidly changing market, three years is an eternity. So it is very tough to put much credence in a long term prediction for the smartphone market, which is predicted to grow by 49% this year alone. The prediction is based, in part, on the fact that iOS has plateaued recently. But it is due for a facelift, likely coming soon. And Nokia’s WP7 devices aren’t even due out until 2012, so it is hard to say what the reaction to them will be. And there is also RIM and HP’s WebOS to reckon with.

According to the report: “Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, “The new alliance brings together Nokia’s hardware capabilities and Windows Phone’s differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android.”

If the prediction is correct, it will probably be because enterprise widely decides to embrace WP7. And it will also depend on the type of handsets the OS is available on, and how the ongoing relationship with Nokia and Microsoft develops. We will be sure to keep you up to date on new developments, and if WP7 does rocket to the top, SlashGear will be here to report on it.

[via ZDNet]

Discovr App Offers Interesting Way to Find New Music

There is no shortage of iOS apps to help you find new music; based on friend’s recommendations, or what your friends have downloaded. But what if you are looking for a specific sound? You don’t necessarily want to know what everyone else is listening to, you want to find a certain sound or style. That’s what the Discovr music app hopes to help with.

The app provides a interactive map (kind of like those connection charts you see on LinkedIn) that shows artists that are similar to one you like, and then goes on to show others that are similar to them. Then, you can double tap on the musician’s bubble and go to an artist page where you can hear clips, see videos, and read more about them.

One nice feature is browsing within the app without having to exit. Once you find what you like, you can save your favorites to a folder and also share them in all the usual ways (Facebook, Twitter, email). And of course, and now we come to the whole point of the app, you can buy tracks or albums via iTunes.

Discovr comes from an Australian-based startup, and has been rated the number one app in twelve countries, including Australia and Japan.

The app launched on the iPad, and now is available on the iPhone also. No word on whether they plan to release an Android version. Right now, the startup only consists of three people. Discovr is 99 cents in Apple’s App Store.

[via TheNextWeb]

 

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