Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rumor: RIM Cancels 10" Playbook, Realizes They Need New BlackBerry Phones

The Boy Genius Report blog has word that the executive management team has gotten a cold, hard dose of reality and has finally realized that they need to get new QNX-powered BlackBerry smartphones out the door as quickly as possible.

The sobering fact that RIM's stock has taken a nose dive in recent weeks has served as what I can only describe as a wake up call.  According to BGR, plans for an iPad sized 10-inch BlackBerry Playbook are being scrapped and the company will "focus as much effort as possible on building and releasing its first QNX-powered BlackBerry smartphone."

The specs and timing for a new BlackBerry running the QNX operating system are, obviously, thin at best.
"Specs of the purported next-generation BlackBerry smartphone include a single-core 1.2GHz processor — though it may be swapped for a dual-core if RIM can find a way to reduce the drain on the battery — along with a 4.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen display. Further details surrounding the device were not made available, nor was a codename, launch name or a time frame for the device’s release."
The previously planned 4G cellular version(s) of the BlackBerry Playbook is still planned for release in the October timeframe.

As a strictly utilitarian device for email, text/instant messaging, and phone calls (who makes those anymore?), the BlackBerry is a great phone.  Messaging has always been at the core of what a BlackBerry is.  (I own and have used a BlackBerry Curve and Storm2 and loved them both.)  But today's "prosumers" want more features than that, and when compared to the iPhone and Android devices, all of the RIM devices fall flat on their faces.  If RIM is serous about turning their company around, they need to get QNX-powered phones out the door as quickly as possible.

[Via BGR.com...]

Friday, June 24, 2011

HP Rolls Out webOS 2.1 for Verizon Pre2

Looks like HP and Verizon have started pushing out the webOS 2.1 update for the Pre2 smartphone.  Hit up the Update application to get your webOS 2.1 goodness.

And yes, I'm still bitter that the Sprint Pre won't be getting webOS 2.1 either as an OTA or slide load Doctor update.

[Via PreCentral.net...]

Conan O'Brian: Thumbs Down on FCP X

I guess we can add Conan to the list of people who are not happy with the new version of Apple's Final Cut Pro software.

We now return your to your regularly scheduled programming.

Skyfire Can Save You Money As Carriers Push for Tiered Data Plans

The huge success of the iPhone helped to not only change the shape of smartphones for ever, but the growing numbers of iPhones and Android devices is causing carriers to take action to protect their data networks - or reap huge profits; you can call it anyway you like.  With unlimited all you can eat data plans giving way to tiered/capped plans, look for more mobile applications to start to become more efficient with data use.
"Skyfire came out with a set of numbers today showing that smartphone users can save up to $120 a year by using data efficient apps like their browser. If you recall our post showing Verizon’s data calculator, you can see that streaming video is what’s going to be really eating up your data on a month to month basis, but with Skyfire’s “Instant Optimization” video process, which compresses data by 75%, they can save you a ton on your monthly bill."
[Via Droid-Life...]

Xbox 360 Game Port Tool for iOS, OS X, Android, and the Web

I just saw this over on Boy Genius Report and thoughts of playing Halo on my Mac (without Parallels) started dancing in my head.
"Programmer Andrew Russell is working on a project that will undoubtedly pique the interest of game developers around the world. Dubbed ExEn, Russell’s open source software allows devs to port XNA games to iOS, Silverlight and in the near future, Android and OS X as well. In practical terms, this software gives developers a much easier way to take games they have built for Xbox 360, Windows or Windows Phone 7 using Microsoft’s XNA framework and port them to the iPhone or iPad, the Web (Silverlight), and soon to Android devices and Mac OS X!"

[Via BGR.com...]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update

Mac OS X 10.6.8 is available now for all Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard users.  Aside from the usual bug fixes and enhancements, Mac OS X 10.6.8 is a requirement for upgrading to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion next month.

Use the Mac OS X Software Update control panel to download the update now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rovio Releases Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic

Just in time for the 4th of July holiday, Rovio arms us with another "eggciting" bird flinging adventure: Summer Pignic!

Summer Pignic is the next installment for the popular Angry Birds Seasons game available now for iOS devices.  Rovio will also be releasing updates for Android, webOS, and the nook.

Angry Birds Seasons - $0.99
Angry Birds Seasons HD - $1.99

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rumor: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 - We Don't Care, Just Give It To Us

Boy Genius Report is claiming to have received word that the next iPhone — the 4S or 5 — will be a major update to the current iPhone 4 models.
"While Apple has indeed been giving some developers access to a device known as the iPhone 4S — an iPhone 4 with upgraded internals — BGR has independently confirmed that the next-generation iPhone will not merely be an upgraded iPhone 4 as had been previously rumored. We have been told by a reliable source to expect a radical new case design for the upcoming iPhone, though we have not been given any additional details surrounding the design of the new iPhone case. What about a release, then? The consensus is that Apple is going to announce the next-generation iPhone at the company’s annual September event, traditionally focused on iPods, but we have heard it’s quite possible Apple will break tradition. According to our source, Apple may hold an event in the beginning or middle of August to announce the new iPhone, with availability to follow in the last week of August. We’re not sure if that means the iPod event will be moved up slightly, or if this will be an iPhone-specific event. Thisismynext reported earlier that the upcoming iPhone 5 would feature a new teardrop-shaped case design."
At this point, I don't care what Apple is going to call the new iPhone; I just want it to be released so I can purchase one.  My Palm Pre is looking forward to retirement and I'm looking for a phone that isn't an underdog.

[Via BGR.com...]

Friday, June 17, 2011

Firemint Real Racing, Real Racing 2 On Sale This Weekend

Firemint, recently acquired by Electronic Arts, has put their popular Real Racing series of games on sale for Father's Day weekend!

The "Manly-Man" sale reduces the prices for Real Racing, Real Racing HD, Real Racing 2, and Real Racing 2 HD.  Use the links below to get your race on!

Real Racing $0.99
Real Racing 2 $4.99
Real Racing HD $1.99
Real Racing 2 HD $6.99

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh, Snap! O2 Takes a Pass on the BlackBerry PlayBook

BGR.com is reporting today that UK-based wireless carrier O2 is going to sit this round out for the BlackBerry PlayBook.
"Citing issues with the user experience, O2 UK announced on Thursday that it “will not be selling” the BlackBerry PlayBook. The wireless carrier began notifying customers who had signed up for more information about its change of heart on Thursday. The carrier officially stated: “unfortunately there are some issues with the end to end customer experience,” but didn’t delve further into its reasons for the decision."
I guess it's better to not let an unfinished product out the door then to have it ship and then be a headache for your customers downstream.

[Via BGR.com...]

RIM Announces Layoffs, Fights for Relevance

RIM released their quarterly earnings report today, and while the news appears upbeat, the BlackBerry maker also announced that layoffs are on the way.

Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.9 billion, down 12% from $5.6 billion in the previous quarter and up 16% from $4.2 billion in the same quarter of last year. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 78% for hardware revenue, 20% for service and 2% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and approximately 500,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets.

“Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter." said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "RIM’s business is profitable and remains solid overall with growing market share in numerous markets around the world and a strong balance sheet with almost $3 billion in cash. We believe that with the new products scheduled for launch in the next few months and realigning our cost structure, RIM will see strong profit growth in the latter part of fiscal 2012."

Additionally, RIM "will begin a program to streamline operations across the organization, which will include a headcount reduction. This realignment will be focused on taking out redundancies and a reallocation of resources to allow us to focus on the areas that offer the highest growth opportunities and align with RIM strategic objectives, such as accelerating new product introductions."

I can't help but thinking that RIM is now the new "Palm."  RIM is still a long way from dropping down into single digit market share territory, they seem to be having all of the same problems that Palm did in the mid to late 2000's.  With Google's Android and Apple's iOS platforms grabbing huge segments of the market, you have to wonder if anyone really cares about the BlackBerry brand anymore.

You can read the full press release on the RIM website.

Friday, June 10, 2011

HP TouchPad Goes On Sale July 1

HP has announced that the Wi-Fi version of HP TouchPad will be available in the United States on July 1.

HP's first webOS tablet will be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany a few days later and in Canada in mid-July, with availability scheduled to follow later this year in Italy and Spain, as well as in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.

HP TouchPad will be available from U.S. retailers, commercial resellers and direct from HP with the option of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage for $499.99 and $599.99, respectively. Preorders in North America and Europe will begin June 19.

"What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP. "The platform's unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP's scale can do with webOS."

With webOS, HP TouchPad users have a next-level multitasking experience, access to the web, premium audio playback with stereo speakers and Beats Audio™ technology, the ability to find information on the device or in the cloud using the Just Type feature, integrated access to their information with HP Synergy, and HP's exclusive Touch to Share capability for sharing web addresses between HP TouchPad and compatible webOS phones.

You can read the full press release on the HP website.

Rumor: Sprint iPhone Being Tested

From 9to5Mac.com:

"Sources tell 9to5Mac that a version of the iPhone for Sprint’s network is currently in advanced testing. The physical design of this device is akin to the iPhone 4 of today, so this might be the iPhone 4S device with support for all carriers that we have been dreaming up and hearing whispers about. Apple is said to have ordered Sprint-compatible cell towers for use on their campus – for testing – in late 2010. Apple similarly tested the Verizon iPhone against Verizon cell towers on their campus months before the product’s release."

Keep reading...

[Via 9to5Mac.com...]

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Releases iTunes 10.3 with iCloud Beta Support

iTunes 10.3, available now for Mac OS X and Windows PC, brings some of the new features unveiled yesterday at WWDC to you now - no waiting until the "fall."

iTunes 10.3 adds Automatic Downloads, Download Previous Purchases, the ability to browse and purchase books for iBooks from iTunes, and our first taste of Apple's new iCloud service which seamlessly syncs music purchases to all of your devices regardless of which device purchased the music.

I'm interested in playing with the iCloud sync feature on my iPad, MacBook Pro, and Windows 7 PCs (one at home and one at work).  I also want to play around with the Download Previous Purchases feature because somewhere along the way, I upgraded Documents To Go on my iPhone 2G, and since it is running iOS 3.1.2 (yes, it's jailbroken/unlocked so I can use it as an iPod touch) I can't install the current release on it.  I'd like to install the older, compatible version again if possible because I did not manually make a backup of the old software.

The new features of iCloud, iOS 5, and Mac OS X look really cool, and I can't wait until September to have all of this cool software.  At least we can get Mac OS X 10.7 Lion next month.

Monday, June 6, 2011

No New MobileMe Accounts Being Accepted

While I haven't gotten to the part of today's WWDC keynote introducing iCloud yet, after seeing that there is a new Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app out today, I went looking for what services are being offered.

Looks like we can forget MobileMe becoming a free service.  She's done for in her current form and iCloud will completely replace it.  I'm going to have to watch the stream on this one and decide if I'm interested in using the new iCloud service.  I would have gone in on MobileMe if it was free or cheaper than $99/year, but I'm not really one for streaming content if I have the option to download it to a Mac or PC on my home network.

Existing MobileMe customers can still access their accounts from the MobileMe.com website.

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Impressions

Apple is packing 250 new features into the next version of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and most prominent among them are muli-touch gestures.

With iOS, we have been taught how to interact with a computer through touch.  With Mac OS X Lion, Apple is bringing all of the same core concepts to our MacBooks, and desktop Macs via the Magic Mouse and Magic TrackPad.

Interestingly, Apple reporting that well over 60% of their Mac sales are MacBooks, so if you feel that all this muti-touch stuff favors the notebook family -- I'd have to agree with you.  I'm not sure how how well these new features will play out, say with a Magic Mouse which looks to have about half of the surface area as the track pad on my 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Regardless, of how you interact with your Mac, I'm less worried that Apple is trying to "dumb down" Mac OS X to work more like the iPhone.  I think today's announcement of new Mac OS X features are impressive and that I'd most of them.

In addition to Multi-Touch, Apple demoed nine other tent pole features, including: Full-Screen Apps, Misson Control, the new Mac App Store,  Launchpad, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, AirDrop, and a redesigned Mail application.  Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will go on sale in July for $29.99 and will be sold exclusively via the Mac App Store.  Once you purchase Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, you will be able to install it on any Mac that you own and have setup your Apple ID account on.  Additionally, for those people who need it, Mac OS X Server is now a separate applications bundle you buy from the Mac App Store.  The server bundle is expected to cost about $50 and it is no longer a separate operating system that you have to purchase.

30-second Initial Reaction to Apple's WWDC Announcements

I was stuck in a staff meeting during the live steam of Apple's WWDC keynote today, so I've gone through great lengths to avoid media coverage and my Apple loving family, friends, and co-workers so I can go in cold when I watch the video steam of today's event.

After spending about 30 seconds on Apple's website, here is my initial reaction to today's news.
  • iOS 5.0 and iCloud will go live this fall.
  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will go on sale in July for $30; appears to be electronic download only.
  • There is no iTunes or other Mac OS X software updates available today.
  • From the Apple.com website, it wasn't clear if there was any changes to MobileMe starting today.
Like I said, this is a 30 second impression from quickly skimming the Apple website and taking a look at what updates appeared in the Mac OS X Software Update control panel and what is being featured in the Mac App Store.

You can watch today's keynote address now as a steaming video from the Apple website.

I'll have more impressions and comments as soon as I can sit down and watch today's WWDC keynote address.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

HP Replaces Palm.com with HPwebOS.com

The Palm brand, my dear friends, has come to an end.

While the Palm brand has been around for a very long time, today, HP has taken down the main palm.com website and replaced it with the HPwebOS.com website.  The new site shares the same black styling as the main HP.com website.  (I'm not a fan of HP's website, just for the record.)

While the main Palm site is gone, the blog.palm.com and developer.palm.com websites are still active, however, it is clearly only a matter of time before HP's web design team swoops in and changes things around there too.

This is kind of a sad day, really.  I'm going to miss the Palm brand.