Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Windows 8 public beta to be unveiled today

Windows 8 public beta to be unveiled today
Microsoft will be releasing the public beta for Windows 8 today, finally giving the general public a chance to try out the new operating system, ahead of its launch sometime at the end of the year.
The new OS does many firsts for Microsoft, it offers versions for both ARM and x86 hardware, and, features an alternate Metro UI, with touch-friendly apps, enabling support for portable devices like tablets.
A lot is riding on just how well Windows 8 will be received, and Microsoft is certainly trying to be forward-looking in the face of the slowing desktop PC market, by targeting the new contender in the sphere – tablets.
As you remember, Windows Phone 8 will also share the same NT Kernel with Windows 8, allowing for a better connected app and services ecosystem, and cross-platform functionality.
Stay tuned for more details about Windows 8 public beta, as they are revealed.


Adobe Proto

Adobe Proto is an app from the Creative Suite of touch based apps from Adobe which helps you in designing wireframes for websites. Its USP being the use of simple gestures to create objects such as a header, an image box, a video box, vertical menu bar, horizontal menu bar, among other things. Creating basic wireframes on a tablet was never so easy.
Features and Performance
As soon as you click on a new project, you are promted to select the layout grid based on the width which can range from a desktop, tablet or mobile layout. Sadly, you cannot set a custom width, which could have been nice. But you can change the pixel width of the columns and gutter.
The interface is clean and only has the vertical tool bar on the left hand edge alongwith an operational panel on the top right hand.
You will have to familiarise yourself with the gestures, if you want to skip using tools for certain tasks. So let us see which gesture performs which function:
  • Rectangle: it creates a box withing which you can add other elements.
  • X (Cross mark): Image box
  • Triangle: Video box
  • Horizontal Waves: Headline
  • Vertical waves: Paragraph
  • Dragging three/four fingers from - top down / left to right: gives you four vertical / horizontal navigation bars
  • Plus: for adding a table
  • arrow: breadcrumbs
So if you master these gestures, you are left with very few elements that you will need from the Tool bar on the left. Each element has its own contextual menu which can be activated by tapping on it. Things such as navigational bars, tables, buttons, text boxes etc get their respective menus where in you can further customise the element. For instance, on tapping the nav bar, you can modify its size, the font, number of nav bars you want (upper limit is 10) etc. In a table, you can change the number of rows or columns. And so on. You can change the default text in each of the elements by double clicking on it and then typing out the real text.
Another interesting aspect about Proto is linking to pages. So say you want Home to open a new page, News to open another page, etc. The you have to link that element to the respective page, as seen above. To see the links work, you will have to go in the preview mode denoted by the eye symbol.
You do not get the option of layers in Proto, so for instance if you want text to flow around the image, then that will not happen.
After you are done with your project, it gets saved automatically and is shown in the homepage. You can send it to the Creative Cloud web server, if you plan to access this Project via some other device. All you need to do is tap on the Creative Cloud icon on the top right hand edge and upload. You can even duplicate a project and keep a backup on the cloud while you work on the original on your tablet.
Adobe Proto is definitely meant for design professionals on the move, where they may not always have access to a system. The ease of use due to gesture based control makes creating wireframes a piece of cake. At Rs. 494 it may seem a lot, but it is certainly worth your time and complete value for money, if your work involves making wireframes.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

MWC 2012: LG showcases the Optimus Vu and Optimus 3D Max

LG took to the stage at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona and showed off their recently announced devices, the Optimus Vu and the Optimus 3D Max. We had seen the Optimus Vu leaked prior to the event in a teaser video and then once before the official announcement, alongside its biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Soon after, LG officially raised the curtains on the Optimus Vu, along with a follow-up to their glassless 3D handset that was launched, last year, the Optimus 3D Max. At the event in Spain, LG showed off their new offerings, yet again. 
The handsets launched at MWC 
The handsets launched at MWC 

LG Optimus Vu

Here is a quick look at the specifications of the LG Optimus Vu:
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 x 768
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with AF and LED flash
  • 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 32GB Internal Memory
  • LTE, HDMI, DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct
  • 1GB RAM
  • 2080 mAh battery
  • Dimensions are 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm

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LG Optimus 3D Max

Below is a look at the features of the LG Optimus 3D Max:
  • 4.3-inch 3D WVGA Display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor (OMAP4430)
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 8GB Internal Storage, 1GB Internal Memory
  • 3G, EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi, DLNA
  • NFC, LG Tag+
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • 5MP Dual-lens rear camera
  • 1,520 mAh battery

With these handsets, LG have also announced their new design identity which they call – L-Style and speaking on this, Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Mobile Communications Company, said, “Design is consistently the top or second most important factor for customers when choosing a mobile phone. With smartphones, we sometimes took a more functional approach to design but with L-Style we’re going back to our roots as a company focused on how our products fit into the lifestyle of our customers.”

LG claims, “L-Style’s design philosophy is comprised of five aesthetic elements: Modern Square Style for a comfortable grip, Floating Mass Technology for a slimmer look, Seamless Layout for a more intuitive arrangement of keys, Harmonized Design Contrast utilizing metallic accents and Sensuous Slim Shape that naturally draws one’s attention.” Three handsets will make their debut at MWC, which feature this new style, these are the Optimus L3 featuring a 3.2-inch display, the L5 that sports a 4-inch display and the L7 featuring a 4.3-inch display. The first of these three handsets will launch first in Europe and then roll out globally. The two later devices will launch, running Android Ice Cream Sandwich and will be available in the first half of the year. No exact dates of availability have been revealed.

LG Optimus L7

The Optimus L7 got pictured too. The full specs are still a mystery, we know it's a dual-core device, runs Android 4.0 ICS and has a 4.3" "floating mass display", meaning its closer to the surface of the device.
LG Optimus L7
There's a 5 MP camera on the back complete with a single LED flash.
LG Optimus L7
There's also NFC aboard. We're eager to get our hands on the L7 at the MWC and we will bring you more information.
Here's original article.

LG Optimus L3

The Optimus L3 is a small device with a 3.2" display up front.
LG Optimus L3
It runs on Gingerbread and should be reasonably priced.
LG Optimus L3

A new challenger to Android is born

The new operating system is based on HTML5 and claims to significantly reduce the cost of smartphones.

Telefónica, a mobile network operator in Europe, and Mozilla have announced a new mobile operating system that will deliver the first HTML5 based devices.
The 'Open Web Devices platform' (OWD), as it is called right now, is based on HTML5 and uses Linux Kernel which is also used by Android devices.
Announcing the operating system, Telefonica said, "The platform, which will be launched in 2012, is an important step forward in the establishment of HTML5 as the next major ecosystem for smartphones, and will enable the delivery of smartphone capabilities at low price points".
Qualcomm, which is world's largest supplier of mobile chipsets, is also sponsoring the mobile operating system. World's largest independent application maker, Getjar and Adobe have also pledged their support to this operating system.
The OS will be maintained by Mozilla.
The new phone architecture relies entirely on the web, enabling HTML 5 applications with absolute access to core phone APIs (Application Programming Interface). This means that all of the device's capabilities (calling, messaging, browsing, games etc) can be developed as HTML5 applications and executed via an experience based on the Firefox Web browser.
Since the operating system is based on HTML5, there is no need of the middleware and other superfluous software on a device which not only makes the applications run faster, but also brings down the device's cost.
Telefónica and Mozilla are developing this HTML5 operating system on a hardware platform that is based upon a Qualcomm chipset. The three companies will be collaborating to bring prototype platform that will enable smartphone capabilities at feature phone entry level pricing.
Telefonica is already in talks with OEMs (device manufacturers) to get this operating system to the market, though no names have been disclosed so far.

Telstra announces Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 4G

Today, Telstra have announced the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 4G, the nations first 4G tablet. The GALAXY Tab 8.9 4G features a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a high definition 8.9 inch screen. It features Android 3.2 but can be upgraded to 4.0 in the future. The tablet also supports HSPA+ allowing Telstra customers to receive a dual 3G connection when they are out of 4G coverage.
“Australians are adopting mobile tablets in record numbers and the Samsung GALAXY Tab 8.9 4G — the nation’s first 4G mobile tablet — promises to boost the appeal of this technology even further. The leap in internet speeds available on GALAXY Tab 8.9 4G means customers can stream HD video and music over the internet, load magazines faster and enjoy rich internet content traditionally confined to a PC screen.” says Warwick Bray, Executive Director of Telstra Mobile.
Other features of the tablet include, a rear-facing 3MP camera and a front facing 2MP camera and a 6,100 mAh battery (no word on how long it will last).
The tablet is available from today at any Telstra store or online. The 16GB version is $720 outright or the 32GB version for $840 outright. Both devices can be teamed with a plan so you can pay off the device over 24 months. The tablet is also available on Prepaid but must be purchased outright.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Samsung reveals the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet

What happens when you double the size of the Galaxy Note? Well, you get another tablet. Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Note 10.1 – and yes, like the smartphone (almost-tablet at 5-inches) of the Galaxy Note, it will include a stylus.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 also includes a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, GPS support, Wi-Fi, and will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There will also be an option to have 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage. And like the Galaxy Note, you will have have the S Pen Experience, where you can use the stylus to write notes on the tablet.
You can read the full press release and gallery below.

Boost your Creativity and Productivity with GALAXY Note 10.1

Barcelona, February 27, 2012 – At Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced the launch of GALAXY Note 10.1, which expands the GALAXY Note experience in creativity, productivity, and learning.
With its large display, GALAXY Note 10.1 provides multi-screen functionality to maximize efficiency in learning, work and creative endeavors. Its multi-screen functionality enables you to do a true multi-tasking, by viewing Internet pages, videos or other applications side by side while writing or sketching your ideas.
GALAXY Note 10.1 features S Note, a unique and efficient tool that lets you combine notes or sketches together with web content, images and other digital media into your own personalized storyboards. It gives you a new way to create stories as S Note provides various ready-to-use templates such as meeting minutes, recipe, cards, diary, magazine and more. Also, hand-drawn geometric shapes can be perfectly digitized by using the Shape Match function, which helps users to create more organized idea sketches and storyboards.
Moreover, by using the S Note’s integrated knowledge search engines, users can quickly search, obtain information, and easily drag & drop the cropped images and content onto S Notes without having to switch between screens.
GALAXY Note 10.1 enables an extraordinary learning experience. Students can watch a lecture live-streamed on video while writing down comments on S Note; research a college essay on the web while taking notes; or even read a full e-textbook while annotating it. Similar to the Shape Match, Formula Match function helps to correct and digitize formulas hand-drawn with S Pen, making the device a more powerful education tool.
Users can fully enjoy PC-like premium photo editing and drawing experiences with Adobe® Photoshop® Touch and Adobe Ideas. Photoshop Touch lets users transform images with core Photoshop features and combine multiple photos into layered images, make popular edits, apply professional effects, and more. Adobe Ideas is an easy-to-master drawing tool that allows users to sketch ideas, choose amazing color themes and import images. Both are specially optimized for S pen and are exclusively pre-loaded on Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1.
“GALAXY Note 10.1 takes productivity on a Note to a whole new level. With a larger, fully utilizable screen and superior performance, it combines the intuitiveness of handwriting with all the versatility of digital content to let users be more productive across all of life’s demanding tasks—whether working, learning, or simply creating their own stories,” said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “With GALAXY Note 10.1 we are demonstrating Samsung’s commitment to extend the mobile category and are working with key partners like Adobe to provide extraordinary experiences for users that enable them to be more productive, express themselves creatively and add a touch of fulfillment to their lives.”
Ensuring intuitive multitasking and web browsing, GALAXY Note 10.1 runs on AndroidTM 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and HSPA+ connectivity. Its real-time video streaming and Full HD video playback add to the device’s content versatility.
GALAXY Note 10.1’s innovative S Pen, the most advanced pen input solution on the market, is completely integrated into the device’s original applications. It provides enhanced pressure sensitivity, superior accuracy and control when editing or writing, providing an analog pen writing experience on a digital device.

HTC still to make Windows Phones, new line will feature Apollo

HTC may be pushing more and more Android phones, but it will still have its fingers on the other mobile OS, Windows Phone. The company has recently confirmed to two different media sources that it will continue making phones with the Microsoft-backed OS, despite HTC’s overall financial woes with tough competition with Samsung and Apple.
The mobile maker’s CEO, John Wang, told TechCrunch that the company will not give up on the OS – despite the news being made at MWC by HTC was the launch of its Android-powered HTC One series. Telling reporter Ingrid Lunden, Wang said “Today, the news happened to be Android, but we have not given up on Windows Phone.”
But when will HTC make new Windows Phones? Well, Pocket-Lint has said that the company told them that it will release new devices when Windows Phone 8 (Codename: Apollo) emerges later this year.
“For Windows Phone we haven’t decided on the branding yet, but you will see a new range of Windows Phones from us when Microsoft release their new Apollo operating system,” Kouji Kodera told the website.
HTC was the first pick by Microsoft for its relaunch into the mobile sphere, replacing the long-struggling and tired Windows Mobile OS. Now, Microsoft has found a better partner for the OS – Nokia, and quickly the Lumia line has proven to be popular, topping 1 million already despite a small launch in Europe in late October.
Nokia even managed to take the crown from HTC despite only being in the market for one quarter. So, what does HTC have up its sleeves? We’ll wait and see.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

JLab Audio B-FLEX X-Bass USB Laptop Speaker Review

A few weeks back, we first featured JLab Audio’s GO MP3 Player and it was a good product overall. It did what it was supposed to at an alright cost. This time around, JLab Audio once again returns with a product that’s not as far off as their waterproof player but is still as valuable based on its intended operation. For those that bring laptops and netbooks around all the time, it is common knowledge that speakers of these gadgets are not of the best kind, as they’re clearly meant for personal use and manufacturers assume that headphones would be more practical. But for those situations that laptop audio is a necessity and the built-in speakers suck, then JLab Audio has something in their sleeve to offer. Today’s review will focus on JLab Audio’s B-FLEX X-Bass USB Laptop Speakers.
Unboxing and Presentation
Unlike the previous JLab Audio product, the B-FLEX actually comes in its actual retail packaging. Like most speaker sets though, the B-FLEX also comes in a plastic clam type of packaging that has the typical cardboard backing that contains the product shots and details. At the front is the company logo and product name, with the speaker unit itself embossing the plastic packaging for easier inspection of contents without having to open the package. The rear of the package is basically the same as the front with the product window showing the rear side of the speaker. More details are also seen, including the most important positives of the product and basic functions. Nothing special about the package but it definitely helps any possible buyer of the B-FLEX.
Things also don’t get complicated when opening the said package. It doesn’t have any twist ties or any adhesive used in sealing in the product. You can easily slide out the speakers and plug it in to any USB port and you’re ready to go. There are no other accessories included in the package, aside from a paper manual that anyone can basically get around not reading as the product is very simple to use.
  • Plug and play for PC* and Mac. Uses only USB power, no wires or batteries!
  • Easy to use. Incredibly compact and portable. Great for travel!
  • Produces crystal clear sound with dual 1-watt digital amps and 2 high output, full range micro drivers and passive subwoofer.
  • Patented flexible design allows you to totally customize your listening experience by flexing the speaker into virtually any position.
  • Second Edition of the B-Flex gadget that was featured in the NY Times, on ABC News, in WIRED magazine, and on virtually every gadget site in the world.
Impressions and Review
We’ll be skipping the contents part of the review as the B-FLEX was designed with simplicity, both in form and use, in mind and as such, the package you’ll be getting will only contain the speaker unit itself. For the form factor, the speaker is very solid with its overall black finish. As mentioned, just plug it and play it, it doesn’t have any dangling wires, nor does it need any batteries to work. This enables the product to have a seamless finish without any room for detaching or attaching additional pieces, adding to the solid feel of the accessory.
For the look itself, it will blend easily with most laptops and netbooks with its black color scheme. In front is the actual speaker grill with the company logo at the center. The said logo gives a blue light when the speaker is attached to the computer’s USB port. The back part also reflects the minimalist design with the B-FLEX logo in silver at the center of the shiny black finish. The oval shape of the speaker gives it a streamlined aesthetic to couple the mono-directional speaker setup.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the sound quality. As said above, the speaker seems to have a mono-directional speaker setup, but that’s not totally the case. The sound it produces is quite excellent for a USB-powered device as the sound still resonates despite listening from the back of the unit. Now depending on the equalizer you’re using, the B-FLEX has great reaction to midrange to the higher frequencies. Does this mean that the bass components won’t stand up? Actually, no. This is because this variant of the B-FLEX is the X-Bass one. This means that aside from the front speaker unit, the top portion houses the passive woofer that gives the sound it produces a deeper bass. You might expect that the top has a literal speaker attached. Again, no. As mentioned, this woofer is passive, meaning that it won’t be intrusive to the form factor, neither will it be a liability. This extra component is actually designed to be exposed so you won’t need to worry about warped speaker components that are a common occurrence to these things.
We also said that the B-FLEX doesn’t have any dangling wires to work. This is because the USB "cable" is actually enclosed in a plastic segmented cable that not only secures the connection to the speaker unit, but also holds up the unit in an upright position relative to the USB port. This then ensures that the speakers are nearer to ear-level for better reception of the sound produced.
The only downside to this setup is that given that the audio actually comes from the USB device and instead of the actual sound output ports, there might be instances that any hardware enhancements that may be installed due to built-in drivers and the like may not make any differences to the sound coming out of the B-FLEX.
Final Thoughts
All in all, we have to say that JLab Audio has once again delivered a great product with their B-FLEX X-Bass USB speakers. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t need any setups to work, just plug it and play it. It also helps that it’s wireless so carrying it won’t be a hassle. Then of course, the sound it produces is better than the default laptop ones and while it’s not made to replace high power desktop speakers, it does the job it was intended to. So is it worth the cost? JLab Audio currently sells this one at a sale price of $39.95 so for those who are eyeing for better mobile audio experience, head on to JLab Audio’s website at