Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Staples Begins Selling Apple Products (Again)

Today Apple accessories are now being sold on the Staples website.  It is also believed that Apple's products will soon be on sale in brick and mortar locations.

When you visit Staples.com you can choose products from iPad Accessories, Mac Accessories, iPod accessories, and of course, iPhone accessories.  The Apple TV is also available from Staples.

This will be a return to selling Apple products, for the office supply chain.  Back in the 90's I can remember my local Staples selling the consumer Macintosh line and classic Mac OS upgrade kits.

Monday, February 25, 2013

LG Acquires webOS, Assets and Employees

You have *got* to be kidding me!
"LG announced at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that it has purchased HP's webOS Global Business Unit. The deal reportedly includes all of the patents, employees, and source code associated with the operating system originally developed by Palm."
webOS.  Now under new management.  (Again.)  So who knows what the fate of webOS Community Edition, Open webOS, and Gram will be.

HP Announces the Slate 7 Consumer Tablet

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 24, 2013 — HP today announced the HP Slate7, an affordable Android Jelly Bean consumer tablet that provides customers with easy access to Google Mobile services.

With a 7-inch diagonal screen and weighing 13 ounces, the HP Slate7 is an ideal trusted personal companion, featuring a stainless-steel frame and soft black paint in gray or red on the back. It also is the industry's first tablet to offer embedded Beats Audio, for the best-sounding, richest audio experience available on a tablet.

The HP Slate7 delivers the Google experience with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multiperson video chat as well as access to apps and digital content through Google Play.

"To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems," said Alberto Torres, senior vice president, Mobility Global Business Unit, HP. "Our new HP Slate7 on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets, while our ground-breaking, business-ready HP ElitePad on Windows® 8 is ideal for enterprises and governments. Both deliver the service and support people expect from HP."

The HP Slate7 joins the recently introduced HP Chromebook as part of HP's push to offer access to the Google experience.

For $169 dollars, I'd buy one to play with, but the real question I have is: will it run Open webOS?

Read more on the HP Slate 7 website.

Samsung Announces the Galaxy Note 8.0

SEOUL, Korea February 24, 2013 - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of the 8 inch tablet, the GALAXY Note 8.0; a new era of intelligent Note technology set to re-ignite the mid-size tablet category that Samsung established in 2010. Providing unrivalled multimedia performance within a compact one-hand-grip screen, the GALAXY Note 8.0 has the power and advanced technology to evolve the tablet experience and ensure you achieve new levels of efficient multi-tasking while benefitting from superb voice call functionality. Furthermore, the intelligent S Pen brings together the latest innovation and the ease of using a traditional pen and paper; creating a sophisticated mobile experience that will enhance life on the go.

“Back in 2010 the launch of the first Samsung GALAXY Tab with 7 inch screen opened a new chapter in the mobile industry. Now almost three years later, Samsung continues to evolve the sector that meets the demands of modern life.” said JK Shin, President of the IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

“The GALAXY Note 8.0 breaths fresh life into the category as it delivers the perfect fusion of portability and everyday productivity - the result is a pioneering, pocket-sized solution that enhances and enriches our everyday lives, whether at work or play,” added Shin.

At the core of the GALAXY Note 8.0’s innovative solutions are beneficial functions, including multi-window options to split the portable 8inch screen and allow optimal access to a number of live applications; a new generation of Samsung’s intelligent S Pen with advanced usability; access to a suite of S Note templates and tools that allow you to create, edit, manage and share everyday documents; the Samsung “reading mode” technology to enjoy e books with optimized resolution, video and voice calls. In addition, a suite of exciting new content and services are pre-loaded for users at no additional cost including, for the very first time on Samsung GALAXY tablet, the innovative Flipboard, and Awesome Note.

A smart diary for life on the go
Slim and compact enough to become the perfect on-the-go work and play companion, the GALAXY Note 8.0 brings powerful performance and functionality to support even the most demanding of lifestyles. Designed to store and manage your personal and professional data efficiently, the new era device gives users the perfect pocket-sized hands-on organizational tool. Practical S Note templates and S Planner feature help to manage everyday tasks, including meeting notes, to-do lists and even personal diary entries. All content can be entered and updated with the finest of detail thanks to the evolution of the intelligent Samsung S Pen. Enhanced precision is offered with Handwriting-to-Text conversion and advanced Productivity Tools that support formula and shape recognition are now available at the touch of your S Pen.

New content and services
GALAXY Note 8.0 is packed with pre-loaded content and apps specifically for the value maximizing, mass multimedia consumer. Upgraded Chat-On provides easy instant messaging and group chatting in multiple formats – images, video, voice, contacts – for simple, enjoyable communication. Awesome Note, an integrated application that is introduced in android tablet for the first time with NOTE 8.0, is capable of unlimited note-taking uses including Memo, Diary and Must-remember lists. With Flipboard, your news, social network and other feeds come together in one stylish, flippable format so you can enjoy all your news and life’s great moments in one place. Flipboard developed a customized version of its application exclusively for Samsung that allows users to take the S Pen’s hover feature and preview article headers beneath Flipboard's main screen tiles. Finally, Smart Remote, gives you a universal remote control and electronic programming guide allowing you to manage TV and video watching seamlessly.

A new age of S Pen intelligence
Optimized to aid personalized creativity, the Samsung S Pen has evolved to increase everyday usability and enhance creation expression. Embedded within the tablet, the S Pen is an extension of the GALAXY Note 8.0. Removing the S Pen from the device will automatically launch innovative features such as Pen Detection that will suggest adapted menus that it thinks you’ll need and Page Buddy, a feature that will intuitively activate your most recently adapted S Note home screen. 

S Pen technology is now so advanced that it doesn’t even have to touch the screen. With Air View, the S Pen needs only to hover over the screen to see previews of videos, emails, photos and appointments on SPlanner without opening the file or application in full. S Pen Gesture allows images and content to be easily edited and cropped, whilst Paper Artist and Photo Note allow photos to be artistically personalized. 

In addition, for the very first time in GALAXY NOTE category, you can use S Pen to control the physical menu/back buttons on the device with WACOM technology. 

Maximizing mass multimedia consumption
Creative multi-tasking with the GALAXY Note 8.0 is effortless due to innovative Dual View feature, two multi window options that seamlessly allow you to facilitate multi-screen usage. Dual View’s split screen accommodates optimal operation of different apps, such as launching the S Note on the web browser screen and allowing content to be resized, dragged and dropped as required. 

Multi-tasking is extended to phone calls. Pop Up Note allows you to access S Note at any time to keep track of key actions and Pop Up Video ensures you can keep surfing the web whilst chatting – content windows can be easily resized by pinching to enlarge or reduce.

Perfect info-tainment partner
Packed with features to engage, entertain and excite, the GALAXY Note 8.0 supports your practical everyday needs. Reading Mode transforms the GALAXY Note 8.0 into an e-Book reader, provides the optimal reading conditions to ensure you can curl up and enjoy a good book. You can even turn it into a universal remote control with Smart Remote, to seamlessly manage TVs, set-up boxes, DVD & Blu-ray players.

You can read the full press release on the Samsung Mobile website.

Friday, February 22, 2013

This Is Why I Don't Jailbreak iOS

"I want to be clear here: automated backups can be very bad news. If you restore your tweaks without going through Cydia, and an update breaks a single tweak, you won’t have a fun time attempting to find the incompatible package that crashes your phone at startup."

[Via iDownloadBlog.com...]

Google Glass Promo Video

Google has uploaded a promo video of their Google Glass project to their YouTube channel.

Ya, I'd defiantly get one of these!  I was sold at the GPS heads up feature.

NY Times Coverage of PlayStation 4 Announcement

This past Wednesday, Sony held an invitation only press event to announce their new PlayStation 4, that is expected to be released just in time for the 2013 holiday season.

From the New York Times' Sony event coverage:
"The first new PlayStation in seven years was promoted by Sony as being like a “supercharged PC.” It has a souped-up eight-core processor to juggle more complex tasks simultaneously, enhanced graphics, the ability to play games even as they are being downloaded, and a new controller designed in tandem with a stereo camera that can sense the depth of the environment in front of it."
While Sony did show off the new PS4 controller and some graphics demos, the new unit itself was not put out for display.

[Via NYTimes.com...]

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Release Schedule

With the iPhone 4S battery and Exchange Server recurring meeting bugs behind them, looks like Apple is trying to get back to the business of development of the next regular software upgrade of iOS 6.

Yesterday, developers were notified that iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 was available for testing.  As previously reported, this version is suppose to focus on Maps enhancements (for Japan only?), and will include a fix for the iOS lock screen bypass bug.

[Via BGR.com...]

Text Copy Bug in Samsung Galaxy S3

I actually laughed out loud when I read John Gruber's post.
"First reported to Samsung back in October, [is] still a problem. You’d think if anyone would have a Copy function that worked perfectly, it’d be Samsung."
Kind of reminds me of "Redmond, start your photocopiers." (Link)

[Via Daring Fireball.com...]

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Installing Palm's Tasks App on Your TouchPad

Yesterday, Ryan St. Andrie, of webOSNation.com, posted an article on installing the webOS Tasks application from a Pre or Pixi smartphone on your TouchPad tablet.  Tasks, unbelievably, is an application that never made it into webOS 3.0.  You can read the full story over on webOSNation.com.

The steps outlined in the article work well enough.  I did run into some *minor* problems while packing up the Tasks app for installation on my TouchPad.  The first issue was how to deal with the .jar webOS Doctor file that contains the Tasks application that I wanted to install.  The second issue was where do a copy the Task application to once I got it on my TouchPad.

Issue 1: Working with the .jar webOS Doctor file

webOS Doctor files, shipped as Java .jar files, are essentially hard reset files that allow you to reset and reload a clean copy of webOS on your device.  The article calls for opening the .jar file with a PC compression utility like WinRAR.  I've used WinRAR before...on my PC.  As I said, I'm using a Mac now.

Without thinking, I loaded up Parallels, launched my Windows 7 virtual machine, and was off to the races as they say.  But what if you don't have Paralles, VMware Fusion, or a copy of Windows hanging around?  The solution turns out to be very simple; rename the .jar file to .zip!  (I didn't come up with that myself.  I found the solution here.  Thanks, cazlar!)  I did go back and test the rename-the-file trick and it does work.  Sweet!!

Also, once you get the .jar-now-a-.zip file open, here is the path you have to navigate to find the Tasks folder.  I am going to assume that you are using the unlocked Pre2 webOS 2.2.4 Doctor file.

webosdoctorp224pre2wr.jar > resources > webOS.tar > .\nova-cust-image-roadrunner.rootfs.tar.gz > .\usr > palm > applications > com.palm.app.tasks

Issue 2: Moving the Tasks app

Once you have installed the repackaged Tasks .IPK file on your TouchPad, you have to move it to the Linux partition for Palm's built-in webOS applications because Tasks is a system application and not a third-party application.

If you are reading the webOSNations article carefully, you will know that you will need to move the Tasks app folder from the path:




The thing that tripped me up was the screen shot that was provided was of the first path, not the second.  Just be aware of that when you go to move the com.palm.tasks folder.

After rebooting my TouchPad, Tasks was up and running in the webOS smartphone emulator on my tablet!

The entire process took about an hour for me to complete.  Times will vary depending on how much software needs to be downloaded, updated, or installed on your Mac, PC, and TouchPad.

[Via webOSNation.com...]

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apple Releases iOS 6.1.2

Yesterday, Apple rolled out iOS 6.1.2.  This updated is intended to address the Microsoft Exchange bug that has been well documented.

Unlike previous iOS 6.1.x updates, iOS 6.1.2 is available for current model iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch models.

I've read conflicting reports on whether or not iOS 6.1.2 addresses the lock screen bypass bug. I'll have to test to see if the issue was resolved after applying iOS 6.1.2.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"iWatch" or "I Watch"?

iDownloadBlog asks:
"What if iWatch isn’t actually an Apple smart watch, but an aptly named TV?"
Interesting theory.  Checkout the story on iDownloadBlog.

[Via iDownloadBlog.com...]

Google Play: App Ecosystem or Security Risk?

Just saw this over on AppleInsider:
"[A story run by Australia's News.com.au] outlined a recent policy shift at the Google Play online software and media store run for Android users, which now forwards developers the personal information of buyers, including their neighborhood and email address. The sharing of customers' data is not outlined in either Google Play's Terms of Service or in the company's privacy statement."
Um, it's stories like this that make me glad I don't use a Google Android phone as my day-to-day device.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Office 365: Office on Demand

Now that Microsoft has rolled out Office 365 Home Premium the free beta trial period is over.  (You still get the first month free.)

Unlike previous retail versions of Office, Office 365 is a subscription service.  You pay a monthly or annual fee to use Office and you can install Office 365 on up to any combination of five Windows PCs or Macs.

One of the new features of Office 365 is that you can "stream" the applications you subscribe to using a feature called "Office on Demand."  Office on Demand works with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher and works with any PC that allows you to login to your Microsoft account that has a persistent Internet connection.

The video below gives you all the details to get started.

For more information, head over to the Microsoft website.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

iOS 6.1.2 Rumored To Be Released Next Week

Apple has been scrambling to address issues with iOS 6.  The next security and maintenance release for iDevices is reportedly scheduled for release next week.

From MacRumors.com:
"German site iPhone-Ticker reports [Google translation] that Apple is planning to release iOS 6.1.2 early next week to address both the Exchange bug and lock screen passcode issue affecting iOS 6.1 users. According to the report, iOS 6.1.2 is likely to arrive before Wednesday, February 20."
Apple has been trying to squash bugs related to battery performance on with the iPhone 4S, recurring meeting invitations being sent from users of Microsoft Exchange Server, and a particularly worrisome lock screen bypass bug.

[Via MacRumors.com...]

Apple Updates MacBooks, Lowers Prices

CUPERTINO, California—February 13, 2013—Apple® is making the MacBook Pro® with Retina® display faster and more affordable with updated processors and lower starting prices. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now starts at $1,499 for 128GB of flash, and $1,699 for a new 2.6 GHz processor and 256GB of flash. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now features a faster 2.4 GHz quad-core processor, and the top-of-the-line 15-inch notebook comes with a new 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of memory. Apple today also announced that the 13-inch MacBook Air® with 256GB of flash has a new lower price of $1,399.

The MacBook Pro with Retina display features the world’s highest resolution notebook display. Whether you’re reading emails, writing text, editing home movies in HD or retouching professional photography, everything appears vibrant, detailed and sharp, delivering an unrivaled viewing experience. The MacBook Pro with Retina display features flash storage that is up to four times faster than traditional notebook hard drives, and delivers improved reliability, instant-on responsiveness and up to 30 days of standby time. 

Pricing & Availability
The updated MacBook Pro with Retina display and MacBook Air models are available today through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. Pricing details, technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbook-pro and www.apple.com/macbookair.

This is uncharacteristic for Apple.  I wonder what's going on here.

[Via Apple PR...]

Friday, February 15, 2013

Annoying Bugs Continue with Apple iOS 6.1

One step forward, two steps back might be how some iOS 6 users feel right now.  In addition to the previously reported bugs in iOS 6 effecting battery life and Microsoft's Exchange Server, add lock screen by pass 'trick' to the list of Apple headaches.
"Reached for comment, Apple said it is hard at work on a fix. “Apple takes user security very seriously” spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “We are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.”"
Apple is working developing a fix for the by pass bug (which has happened before with iOS 4.1) as well as the bug with recurring meeting invitations sent from users of Microsoft's Exchange Server.

[Via AllThingsD.com...]

Google Nexus 4 Wireless Charger

Google has launched a wireless, inductive charger for the Nexus 4 smartphone.
"Charge your Nexus 4 wirelessly with this Qi inductive charger. Its angled surface provides easy visibility of your phone while charging. This elegant device was designed specifically for your Nexus 4 -- no clunky add-ons or accessories needed."
The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger can be purchased now, directly from Google at the Play Store.  As indicated by the name, the charger will only work with the Nexus 4 smartphone, which can also be purchased directly from the Google Play store.  The 8GB Nexus 4 will cost you $299, while the 16GB version goes for $349.  Neither phone requires a new service contract.

I'm glad to see Google releasing this charger for the Nexus 4.  It was one of my favorite features of my Palm Pre back in 2009 and one of the features I long for as a built in option on my Apple iPhone.

Available in black, the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger looks very similar to Palm's Touchstone charger for the Palm Pre an other webOS smartphones.

[Via BGR.com...]

Run Android Apps on Windows 8, Surface

Software developer BlueStacks has created an "app player" for Windows and Mac OS X that allows you to run Android phone apps on your Microsoft Surface, Windows PC (beta) and Mac OS X (beta) computers.

Their "layer cake" emulation module is the glue that holds everything together.
"Over 5 million people around the world use top apps like Angry Birds Space, Kik Messenger, Where's My Water and more on their laptops with BlueStacks. It took 10 engineers two years to build the complex "LayerCake" technology that enables this to happen – but you get to experience it free while in beta. You can download App Player now at BlueStacks.com."

Download App Player from BlueStacks.com.

[Via BGR.com...]

Monday, February 11, 2013

Apple Releases iOS 6.1.1 for iPhone 4S

Surprise!  Earlier today, Apple released iOS 6.1.1 specifically targeted at the iPhone 4S.

Over the weekend and as late as this afternoon, I was blogging about the first developer release of iOS 6.1.1 with regard to improving Apple's Maps app, addressing an Exchange Server bug bedeviling corporate customers, and poor battery performance.

This evening, Apple rolled out a very narrowly targeted version of iOS 6.1.1 specifically to address that last problem - poor battery performance with the iPhone 4S.
"This update fixes an issue that could impact cellular performance and reliability for the iPhone 4S."
The 23MB over-the-air (OTA) update was available on my Sprint and Verizon iPhone 4S handsets.

There is no word on whether or not Apple will release an iOS 6.1.1 for all other current model iDevices or if Apple will just move on to the next version number such as 6.1.2 or 6.2.  We also don't know when we might expect a fix to the bug in Microsoft's Exchange Server messaging platform that causes devices running iOS 6.1 to get stuck in a loop when trying to accept an invitation to recurring meetings.

There was no word on when an update to Apple's Maps application would be made available either.

The iOS 6.1.1 OTA update took about 15-20 minutes start to finish on my iPhone 4S units.  The update is also available as a wired update via iTunes for Mac OS X and Windows PCs.

3G Battery Performance May Also Be Contributing to iOS 6.1.1 Being Fast Tracked [Updated]

Following up on the Apple iOS 6.1.1 beta release to developers story from yesterday, Ars Technica has some more information about potential iOS 6.1 battery life issues.

From Ars Technica:
"Things heated up on Friday when Vodafone issued a warning to its UK subscribers saying not to download iOS 6.1 to their devices. The company sent a text message to subscribers and posted a notice on its forums (hat tip to MacRumors) saying iOS 6.1 "impacts performance on 3G" for Vodafone's iPhone 4S users." 
"Some customers may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the Internet. Apple is working on a solution to their software issue. These connection problems are intermittent," the company wrote. "While Apple’s investigations continue, we would recommend that anyone who has not yet installed iOS 6.1 on their iPhone 4s should delay doing so until Apple has confirmed that their problem has been fixed."
Stay tuned. I would say that if we see the a release before the end of March and/or with four or less beta builds, iOS 6.1.1 was an emergency release to address a recurring meeting bug with Microsoft Exchange Server, something that will be a big problem for Apple customers who rely on Microsoft's corporate email, calendaring, and messaging platform and 3G battery life issues the Vodafone mentioned.


Apple has released iOS 6.1.1 specifically for the iPhone 4S to address "cellular performance".

Real Racing 3 Will Be Free, Multi-platform on Feb 28

Electronic Arts will be launching Real Racing 3 for free on February 28 for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets as well as in the Amazon App Store.

From the Firemonkeys Forums:
"Today we announced Real Racing 3 will be free. And yes, Real Racing 3 was designed from the ground up to be a free to play experience. We are so excited about this game and wanted it to be accessible to everyone so we didn't want there to be any barriers to entry. This accessibility is also what drives the awesome new Time Shifted Multiplayer feature, in that you can play competitive multiplayer with anyone any time, and they don't need to be online with you at the same time." 
"At launch we have 46 licensed vehicles covering 3 classes, a 22 car grid, real world tracks, 8 varied event types and 900+ events. This means hundreds of hours of gameplay for free making this one of the most expansive games ever on mobile. We plan to continue to add more free and exciting content with every update."
Bloomberg has this to add:
"Electronic Arts will appeal to a wider audience of casual players by making the “Real Racing 3” multiplayer game free, said Nick Earl, the company’s senior vice president for mobile and social game development." 
"Electronic Arts Inc. will offer free downloads of its newest “Real Racing” title as the second- largest U.S. video-game publisher works to draw the increasing number of gamers using mobile devices."
The draw, I think, for this game, is the offline multiplayer mode that will allow you to race against your friends at different times.  Might be worth a test drive.  I'm not a big racing game fan, even though I own both Real Racing HD and Real Racing 2 HD.  (I bought them when they were on sale in the iOS App Store.)

Microsoft Surface Pro "Sells Out"

This looks like an emerging trend: new gadgets are selling out on launch day.  First is was the new BlackBerry Z10, now it looks to be that the 128GB Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro is also flying off the shelf.

Here is some interesting information on sales estimates for the Surface Pro.

From the Microsoft Surface blog:
"Surface Windows 8 Pro 64gb is available online or from store shelves at all Microsoft retail stores in the U.S. […], at Staples and Best Buy in the United States […]. Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing. We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible."
ComputerWorld's coverage of the Surface Pro launch:
"Microsoft's retail partners for the Surface in the U.S. -- had single-digit supplies that in some cases were claimed earlier in the week."
Being an self proclaimed Apple fan, I liked John Gruber's post on Daring Fireball about the subject.  Specifically, the articles he linked to over on the Virtual Pants blog.

From the Virtual Pants blog:
"When new products sell out on launch day it usually means one of two things: it’s a hot product or they didn’t make enough. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it appears that the Surface Pro falls into the latter category. My local (Northern Virginia) Microsoft store sold out in 15 minutes, which means there wasn’t much to sell. The local Best Buy sold out too, but only received one unit. The local Staples received and sold a whopping two units. Selling out on launch day doesn’t mean very much when there isn’t anything to sell in the first place."
The author over at Virtual Pants, I'm sorry, but I didn't see their name posted, goes on to do a pretty reasonable estimate of how many units were actually sold this past weekend.  The assumption is that Best Buy and Staples retail locations received 1 - 2 units each, while the 30 US-based Microsoft Stores received 150 units.  The Virtual Pants calculations break down like this:
"Let’s add up all the Surface Pros sold in the U.S. yesterday based on these estimates: 
Best Buy: 1,103 stores * 2 units per store = 2,206.
Staples: 1,575 stores * 2 units per store = 3,150. 
Microsoft Store: 30 stores * 150 units per store = 4,500. 

That’s 9,856 Surface Pros sold in U.S. retail stores on launch day. Many more were likely sold online, but less than 10,000 units available in retail stores is an embarrassment by any measure."
Huh.  I wonder if Microsoft will release their launch weekend sales figures in the near future.  Remember, this is just an estimate of what Microsoft had out in retails locations in the US this past weekend.  It also doesn't take into account how many Surface Windows 8 Pro units were sold online.  (My checks at Staples.com and BestBuy.com show the Surface Windows 8 Pro as out of stock.)

This "sell out" is starting to sound a lot like the BlackBerry Z10 sell out, the Palm Pre sell out (which I was a part of, my "live" blog is here), and as AppleInsider (biased, yes I know) reminds us, the Microsoft Zune HD sell out.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Exchange Server Bug May Be Cause of iOS 6.1 Battery Issues

Just days after Apple released iOS 6.1 to the public, iOS 6.1.1 was released to developers.  It's not uncommon for companies to quickly begin working on the next version of their software.  What is unusual is how quickly the beta was turned over to developers outside of Apple so quickly.

We might now know of the drivers to get iOS 6.1.1 out into customer's hands.  A number of reports have sprung up over the last few days indicating that the battery problems reported after the release of iOS 6.1 could be related to a bug in Microsoft Exchange Server when a new recurring meeting invitation is received by an iOS device.

AOL CIO Michael Freker, yes, *that* AOL, has written the following excerpt in an internal company email:
“We have researched this problem and it appears to be connected to a recently identified issue that seems to cause these iOS devices to continuously loop while synchronizing a recurring calendar meeting invitation. Similar problems have been reported by a number of sources to several media outlets across the Web in the past few days.”
There is a growing thread on Apple's own support forms that suggests and unnamed employee working for 'the fruit company' suggests as a workaround fix for the issue until an official fix is released.

“The Official Solution from an unnamed source within that fruit company in Cupertino:
The bug in iOS 6.1 is a ping-pong infinite loop trying to talk to the Exchange server. Unfortunately, just rebooting doesn’t fix the issue. Deleting the account is necessary to remove the problematic invitation response from the queue. 
The workaround is annoying, but effective:
- Delete your Exchange account
- Recreate the Exchange account
- Do not respond to meeting invitations from the device until 6.1.1 comes out.”
In other words, if you use your iOS 6.1 device with an Exchange Server, it is a good idea to not accept recurring meetings until a fix is released.

I have a company issued iPhone 4S and I have not seen this issue, but then again, I don't receive many recurring meetings, and if I do, I then to reply to those meeting invitations from Windows 7 laptop with Outlook 2007.

For more on this store, visit iDownloadBlog.com.

[Via iDownloadBlog.com...]

Friday, February 8, 2013

BlackBerry Q10 To Arrive In Late Spring

Last week we saw BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveil their new handsets, the Z10 and the Q10 along side their new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10 OS.

The Z10 has gone on sale on it's home turf of Canada, as well as several other countries, including the UK and is expected to go on sale here in the US in late March.

Those hoping to get their hands on the more traditional looking BlackBerry, the Q10, may have to wait a little bit longer than was first reported.

Zach Epstein, writing for BGR states:
"[A]ccording to comments from company CEO Thorsten Heins [...] while speaking with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Heins said the BlackBerry Q10 will launch in the U.S. between eight and 10 weeks after the BlackBerry Z10 debuts. BlackBerry’s first BB10 smartphone is expected to hit store shelves in the U.S. in mid-March, placing the BlackBerry Q10′s launch timeframe between mid-May and early June."

Look at this way, "traditional" BlackBerry fans, we've waited this long, a few more weeks isn't going to matter much.

In the mean time, check out this video of the BlackBerry Q10 in action.

[Via BGR.com...]

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mailbox Has Landed in the App Store, Reservations Rolling Out

Earlier today, Orchestra Inc's new productivity app, Mailbox, landed in the App Store and reservation requests started rolling out to people who have been (digitally) standing in line to get their download and activation.

Mailbox is an email client for iPhone that integrates task management for a truly unique and refreshing approach to managing your Google Gmail email account and the tasks that need to be taken care of as a result of the email.

Orchestra describes Mailbox this way:
"It’s how email on the phone should work: Mailbox checks your email from the cloud and delivers it to your phone with lightning-fast speed. A colorful swipe-based UI makes processing a delight. And unique “snooze buttons” let you put off messages until later.  
Mailbox makes getting to zero—and staying there—a breeze. After you experience a clean inbox, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it."

Mailbox will work like you would expect an iOS mail client with a threaded message view that looks clean and easy to read.  The neat twist comes in when you are in the inbox view where you can swipe messages left to right to mark that message as "done".  Additionally, you can manage messages in your inbox like a to-do list and "tag" messages as tasks to be followed up on later that day, later that evening, tomorrow, someday (my favorite), a date you specific, etc.  Want to see Mailbox in action? Hit up the video at the end of this post.

This really does seem like a cool way to approach your mailbox, especially if you are a "Getting Things Done" kind of person.

Mailbox is a free application today.  The plan is to keep the app free and in the future there will be paid set of premium features that you will be able to upgrade to.

While the app is free to download today, according to Orchestra, clients will be rolled out based on a first come, first served reservation system.  As of about 5:30pm eastern time today, I was 134,171 in line. There was another 215,781 in the queue behind me.

For more information on Mailbox, head over to the Mailbox website. If you are ready to download Mailbox, and reserve your spot in line, head over to the App Store.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 Handsets Appear To Be Selling Out

BlackBerry is attempting an Apple-like company turn around, which is by no means, an easy thing to do for any company.  A recent article said that BlackBerry doesn't need to beat out iOS and Google Android hands down right now, rather the BlackBerry 10 OS needs to be able to hold it's own to iterate and mature.

Being a long time Palm fan, I have observed similarities between the transformation RIM is currently undertaking with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Palm's transformation from Palm OS and the Treo to webOS and the Pre and the launch of the Z10 in the UK is just another parallel.

Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein writes:

“Checks at 40 stores in Canada indicate sell-through of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is strong on its launch day, with numerous stores selling out towards the end of the day,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Z10 pre-orders reached record highs (for BlackBerry).” 
"That’s the good news. Sue tossed some cold water on the report though, noting very short Z10 inventory across all of the stores he spoke with. “Supply appears limited, with stores allocated avg. 5-10 units/store for walk-ins and est. 20-30 units/store for pre-orders,” the analyst wrote."
Huh.  You know what other device was the best selling launch day device with sellouts across the board?  Well, yes, the last iPhone, but I was specifically thinking about the Palm Pre with webOS on June 6, 2009.

The Palm Pre for Sprint was selling out all over the place.  Which is easy to do when each store received less than 24 devices each.

We all witnessed Palm's sad, slow demise, and I have to wonder if the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are the new Palm Pre and Pixi.

For BlackBerry fans and customers, let's hope not.

[Via BGR.com...]

Apple Releases iOS 6.1.1 Beta to Developers

It seems like it was just 10 days ago that Apple released iOS 6.1 and here we are getting word that the first beta of iOS 6.1.1 has gone out to developers.

Unlike the iOS 6.1 maintenance update, iOS 6.1.1 seems to targeted at enhancing Apple's Maps application.

In a note to developers accommodating the release, Apple said iOS 6.1.1 beta 1 includes the following improvements to Maps for Japan:

  • Improved pronunciation of roads during turn-by-turn navigation
  • Optimized directions to more strongly prefer highways over narrower roads
  • Now indicates upcoming toll roads during turn-by-turn navigation
  • Added labels for junctions, interchanges, on-ramps, off-ramps, and intersections
  • Added indicators for transit station buildings, subway lines, and traffic lights
  • Updated freeway color to green
  • Updated icons for some location categories including fire stations, hospitals, and post offices Added 3D buildings including Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower
The iOS 6.1.1 beta is said to work with the iPhone 3GS and later, the iPad 2 and later, and the iPod touch fourth generation and later.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Starting Up My Office 365 Home Premium Subscription [Updated]

Now that Microsoft has made Office 365 Home Premium official, I'm going to jump in and start my subscription for my Windows 8 Pro install.

Unlike the traditional retail versions of Office, Office 365 Home Premium is a subscription service that you must pay for monthly, $9.99, or annually, $99.99.  The first month is free. If this works out like I think it will, I'll be purchasing the annual subscription next month.

You can also install Office 365 on a mix of up to 5 Windows and Mac OS X PCs.  You should also be able to upgrade Office on your Surface RT or Surface Pro, but I'm not 100% sure on that just yet.  If you're on a Mac like me, your Office 365 subscription also gives you access to Office 2011: Mac Edition.  (It counts toward one of your 5 installs.)

For more details, check the Microsoft Office website.


Here are a few additional screen shots after having installed Office 365 on Windows 8 Pro.


128GB iPad Forth Generation Begins Shipping

Got $799 burning a hole in your pocket?  You're in luck because Apple has you covered.  The new forth generation iPad with Retina Display is now shipping out.

The following is a snippet from Apple's January 30th announcement of the iPad storage upgrade:

Apple® today announced a 128GB version of the fourth generation iPad® with Retina® display. The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models provide twice the storage capacity of the 64GB models to hold even more valuable content including photos, documents, projects, presentations, books, movies, TV shows, music and apps.  
“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and every day they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”
You can read the full press release on the Apple website.

You can purchase your new iPad with Retina Display from the Apple online store or at a local Apple retail store near you.

SPF Has A New Look, Same Great Stories

As I'm sure you've just noticed, Smartphone Fanatics has undergone a bit of a transformation since your last visit to the site.  The new look has been long over due and it looks great on your iPhone, iPad, smartphone, and of course, on your favorite Mac OS X or Windows browsers.

It's the same great content now with an amazing new layout.  I hope you enjoy the new look and feel, social gadgets, and comment tools.

Please "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  And as always, thanks, for reading!


BlackBerry 10 Launch Event Posted Online

BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research in Motion, has posted their BlackBerry 10 launch event to their YouTube channel for your viewing enjoyment.

You can view the video on YouTube.

BlackBerry Confirms OS Upgrade for BlackBerry PlayBook

Well, well, well...isn't this an interesting turn of events?  The BlackBerry PlayBook has the potential to become an iPad mini and a Nexus 7 competitor.

The OS upgrade, from PlayBook OS 1.x and/or 2.0 to BlackBerry OS 10 was announced during the BlackBerry 10 launch event last week.  (It was also mentioned as far back as March, 2012.)

The BlackBerry PlayBook, originally released in 2011, was suppose to be an iPad "killer."  The market disagreed.  You can still purchase PlayBooks online and in retail outlets, but it is running it's original OS which, evolutionally speaking, is stuck between BlackBerry OS 7 and the new BlackBerry OS 10.  The PlayBook OS was built on the technology acquired from QNX.

I think it's amazing that another company besides Apple is going to reward their customers with a software update that will refresh previous generation hardware.  Heck, this might even be the excuse I've been looking for to purchase a refurbished BlackBerry PlayBook and then upgrade it to BlackBerry 10 later on.

You can read more about the BlackBerry PlayBook on the BlackBerry website.

[Via GadgesOnTheGo.net...]

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Announced

Last week, BlackBerry, the new corporate name for the Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveiled their new name, their new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, and a pair of new BlackBerry smartphones; the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.

Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) [on January 30, 2013] launched BlackBerry® 10, the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry platform that creates a new and unique mobile computing experience. Available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry® Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer you a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry you have used before.

“Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs.  Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.”

BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 Smartphones

The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black. For more information about the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 please visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10

A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry® Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

Pricing and Availability

Worldwide, we have several key markets that are revealing pricing and availability today, including the UK, Canada and UAE.

In the U.S. market, we expect availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. Today, U.S. carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.

We expect the first global carriers to launch the BlackBerry Q10 in April. We will announce new pricing and availability information as carriers roll-out around the world.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]

Microsoft Surface Storage Space Disappoints

The Surface, Microsoft's answer the to the Apple iPad, just went from "Gee, I really want to play with that!" to "Are you friggin' kidding me?! That sucks!"

Not that long ago I tweeted that I wanted to get a Surface RT tablet - the smaller form factor version of Surface that doesn't run full blown Windows PC apps.  The device itself looks to be well made and not too heavy.  The battery life is OK, not great when compared to an iPad.  But the lure of the Surface tablet, whether it's the Surface RT or the Surface Pro, is that it comes with touch enabled, tablet optimized-ish, versions of Microsoft Office.

Ok, so far so good.  Ya, Microsoft's prices are higher than Apple's, but it's Windows and Office on a tablet.

And then Microsoft released the Surface Pro storage specs.  Not good.  Not good at all.
"Microsoft is getting ready to ship a version of its Surface tablet, the Surface Pro, which features the full Windows 8 operating system installed on the tablet. The device comes in two models, a 128GB and a 64GB. Microsoft even makes a note on the specs of the Surface Pro that formatted storage capacity will be less but doesn't mention exactly how much less. Want to know the truth?"
Microsoft has published a storage specifications page over on Microsoft.com detailing how much storage space is left for you to use on your new tablet after the bloated versions of Microsoft Windows and Office are installed.

The snippets below are from Microsoft's Surface storage page.  I will note, that only the Surface RT is mentioned by name and I am not sure if that is a typo or if there is another page specifically for the Surface Pro.

Surface storage

Important  System software uses significant storage space; your storage capacity will be less. See surface.com/spec.  1 GB = 1 billion bytes

Surface with Windows RT comes in two storage configurations. Users can select between a 32 GB and 64 GB version of Surface. As with all PCs and tablets, the operating system and pre-installed applications take up a certain amount of available storage. With Surface, you can store and enjoy media content, and also get real work done, right out of the box.  Surface comes with these pre-installed apps you’ll need for work and play[.]

How much storage space do I have?

Here’s how much storage you have available out of the box:

The 32 GB Surface with Windows RT has approximately 16 GB storage available for user content
The 64 GB Surface with Windows RT has approximately 45 GB storage available for user content

The one bit of good news is that there is a microsSDXC card slot built into the Surface which allows you to add up to a 64GB of additional storage space.

To me, this all seems kind of disingenuous.  Yes, when you format a storage device, hard drive, flash drive, flash memory, you lose some space.  That's just accepted in the technology filed.  It's true for the iPad, the various tablet's running the Google Android OS, and even my HP/alm TouchPad.  But when you advertise a 32GB device, and there is only 16GB of usable storage space left, well, then you are selling a 16GB device, not a 32GB device in my book.

I might still get a Surface RT, but not before they show up as refurbished devices in Microsoft's stores or other online retail outlet.

Pricing and Availability

The Surface RT is on sale now starting at $499 for a "32GB" unit without a keyboard cover.  The 32GB Surface RT with a keyboard Touch Cover goes for $599.  A "64GB" edition of Surface RT with Touch Cover sells for $699.  The Surface RT is available at Microsoft retail stores (if you can find one) and online at Microsoft.com.  You can also purchase them at Best Buy and Staples.

The Surface Pro with Windows 8 will go on sale on February 8 and is expected to be around $1,000 with a Touch Cover.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]

How To Access Hidden Full Screen Web Browsing In Chrome Beta For Android

When Google announced that it would begin offering a Chrome for Android Beta Channel, we knew that Google would be updating the app regularly and also add new features for users to test. One of the new feature, however, is not official and is well hidden by the Chrome Beta for Android. That feature would be full screen Web browsing and here's how to enable it.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]