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June 28, 2012

The First Jelly Bean Android Tablet: Google Nexus 7

Finally, the veil of Google Nexus 7 has been taken off. Google Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet made by Asus, running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

There are both 8GB and 16GB models, featuring a 7-inch 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi), back-lit IPS display, scratch-resistant Corning glass, a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, a 12-core CPU and a 4325 mAh battery that promises about 8 hours of power use. Google claims the tablet will keep kicking for 10 hours of reading or 8 hours of HD video playback on a single charge. The specs make the Nexus 7 a visually rich platform for watching movies (Convert AVCHD to Google Nexus), playing games and reading e-magazines. The devices also tout near field communications (NFC) technology with Google Wallet, GPS and a 1.2MP front-facing camera.

The 8GB model will cost $199, putting it right on par price-wise with Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. And the 16GB device will be priced at $249. Both are available now for pre-order from the Google Play store, and are expected to ship in the next 2-3 weeks.

What makes Nexus 7 outstanding is that it is running a pure version of Android. Both the Nook and Fire are running Android, but these are stripped-down custom version of the Android OS. A pure version Android means that you can access to all the apps you’re going to want, and fully integrates with Google services like Gmail and Google +.

What do you think of Google Nexus 7?

Focus on Google I/O 2012: Google Nexus Q Streamer the Small Ball Rocks Your World

It is called “the first social streaming media player” at $299. Yes, it is the new product at 2012 Google I/O—Google Nexus Q.

Google has launched a new home media server called Nexus Q at its developer conference in San Francisco. What indicates in the statement “the first social streaming media player” is that it functions as a cloud-connected jukebox. The black, spherical orb can be used as an amp to power speakers, hooked up to an HDTV, and is controllable from any Android device running Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” or higher. It grabs content from the Internet and lets you play it on your big-screen TV. (Unlike those other, cheaper devices, it also has its own speaker amplifier.) Users on the same local network can also control it from their own mobile devices, “throwing” content like video or songs onto it.

Based on the demonstration of Google, Google Nexus Q is a derivative of the company’s home automation division “Project Tungsten”. It measures 4.6-inches in diameter, and weighs a hefty two pounds.

The Nexus Q runs Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and sports an OMAP 4460 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with an SGX540 graphics core, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory storage. The Nexus Q has a full complement of ports, including Micro HDMI, TOSLink optical audio, Ethernet, and speaker jack connectors, along with a single micro USB port that Google says is for “service and support only”. It also features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and near-field communications (NFC).

As to visual effect, the device features 32RGB perimeter LEDs and a single RGB LED that acts as a mute indicator. For the apps it supports, there are Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and YouTube.

However, when comparing to Apple TV it is weak and the price is too high as well. The Google Nexus Q priced at $299 and will ship next month.

June 26, 2012

Focus on Google I/O 2012: Top 9 New Products You Might Expect from Google

Filed under: Technology News — video @ 07:14

According to foreign media reports, Google I/O 2012 will kick off on this Wednesday, with some hardware, software and services to be revealed. As usual Google I/O 2012 dues on April 24 and April 25, but the date has been changed to June 27, 28, and 29 on November last year. The days of Google I/O is extended from two days to three days, which indicates Google pays more and more attention to the ecological system of developers. In the previous Google I/O conference, lots of vital products, services and plans will be unveiled, including various versions of Android System, Chromebook, Google Music, Google TV hardware, Google Wave, etc., so it is also expected that many new hardware, software and services will make a debut.

In the following there are top 9 new products you might expect from Google I/O this year:

1. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the right version after Ice-cream Sandwich. Until recently, Android developers still consider Jelly Bean is the name of Android 5.0. But seen from the leaked information of Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Jelly Bean refers to Android 4.1. That is to say, it will be a minor update this time. The highlight of Jelly Bean system lies in that it may be the Android version Chrome. The software Beta version has been released in February.

2. Google Assistant
It is reported that Google is going to release a new product that owns the capacity to complete with Apple Siri. Voice input is supported by Google Android system now, however, speech recognition is still a function but not a service. Google Assistant will a more comprehensive product.

3. Google Nexus
It is likely that Google might be interested in launching hardware products based on Motorola Mobile after the acquisition. The possibility has been mentioned by Google executive Eric Schmidt on December last year. It is expected that Google will release a 7-inch tablet Google Nexus. Amazon Kindle (enjoy video on Kindle Fire) has proved that 7-inch tablet computer owns certain market. At the same time, it will not be dragged into the direct competition with Apple iPad.

4. Google Compute Cloud
Google has talked about application engine (App Engine) service platform several years ago. Now it seems that Google is ready for entering the service infrastructure market. Recently Google has redesigned the application engine enterprise website under Google Cloud. According to the media, Google is bound to debut a Cloud platform that can complete with Amazon EC2 before the end of this year. Google I/O will be an ideal place to announce the Beta version of Google Compute Cloud.

5. Google Playbox
Google has been testing a kind of hardware which is called “the next generation equipment of personal communication”. In order to comfort its partners, it may not be a handset as well as a tablet. It is said that it can let you transfer music at home which is similar to Apple AirPort Express. Such a product definitely can improve the competitiveness of Google Music.

6. Google TV
Google TV 2.0 hardware is launched earlier this year. There are a SONY set-top box and a LG TV product in the market. Google still need to continue to work hard so as to keep its market position. It remains unclear what Google will do to restore consumer confidence to its television product, but it needs to do something.

7. Project Glass
Although the official release of the product will be in next year, it is possible that Google will make a demonstration on it.

8. Brightly
A post in the mailing list from Google engineer Mark S. Miller to developers confirmed the existence of Brightly in November, 2010. Although Google is likely to take Brightly as a tool for internal uses, it can take advantage of Brightly if it provides the IDE to developers. This will encourage the developers to adopt its Dart language that is a solution for JavaScript alternative.

9. Android Accessories
Last year, Google announced Android Open Accessory Development Kit that links Android devices and the external hardware. Wireless networking function is adopted more and more by users, Android should encourage developers to produce Android accessories that are compatible with Android system.

June 19, 2012

Win8 Surface Tablet Released by Microsoft Today: with Expectation to Win a Share of Profits from Tablet Market

Microsoft releases its own branded tablet computer Surface today. The standard version of this tablet is with 9.3mm thickness, 1.5 pounds (675g) weight, magnesium casing, 10.6-inch display, integrated design and Windows 8 system.

Two versions Surface RT and Surface Pro will be provided: the standard RT adopts ARM processor and run Metro apps only while the Pro version will be an all-functional PC which employs intel processor and are able to run all PC software. Surface Pro is with 14mm thickness and 2 pounds weight. 32G and 64G two models are included in Surface RT, 64G and 128G two models are covered in Surface Pro. The price has not been announced by Microsoft, but it is reported that it will be similar to AMR tablet and Ultrabook, so it is with certain competitiveness. The RT version and Windows 8 standard version will be released at the same time, and the Pro version will follow three months after this.

Surface for Windows RT tablet
● Processor: NVIDIA ARM Chip
● Weight: 676g
● Thickness: 9.3mm
● Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD touch screen
● Battery: 31.5 Wh
● Input and output: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD camera, 2×2 MIMO antenna
● Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
● Accessory: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
● Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
● Date to the market: Autumn 2012, around the release of Win8
● Price: unknown

Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet
● Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
● Weight: 903g
● Thickness: 13.5mm
● Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) touch screen
● Battery: 42 Wh
● Input and output: microSD, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antenna
● Software: Windows 8 Pro
● Accessory: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, stylus and Palm Block
● Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
● Date to the market: about three months after the release of Win8
● Price: unknown

Surface has full suze USB2.0 port, integrated support, rear-facing camera, removable keyboard (3mm) and the touch cover makes it look like a book. Microsoft also makes a demonstration on Office running on this tablet.

June 15, 2012

Firsthand News: Windows Phone 8 Screenshots Leak with Skype Integration and More

Window Phone is with a great popularity these years, the release of Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 900 enhance the flourishing trend of Window phone. One of outstanding points of the above two phones is the gorgeous performance on video playing, so it is quite fantastic to play video on Lumia 800 or enjoy video on Lumia 900. Without doubt, there will be some new happening on Windows Phone. It is reported that Microsoft is bound to make a demonstration on Windows Phone 8 recently, and before it some screenshots of the mobile operating system have leaked out.

The screenshots are acquired by Nokia Innovations, from the screenshots you can see a new camera user interface for Windows Phone with a slider on the left side of the frame for zooming and a button for toggling between the front-facing and rear-facing cameras.

The Skype integration is also showed by these screenshots. The Skype calls can be answered whether with or without video. In addition, Skype is also integrated into the People Hub so as to allow you dial a contact using Skype just as you might send a text message or place a traditional phone call.

From the leaked photos, the DataSmart feature is presented as well, which helps you get access to real-time stats on how much data you have used and how many more days you have left in your billing cycle. The live tile on the main screen enables you to peek at where you stand as far as data usage is concerned and offer you quick approach to the DataSmart screen to see the bigger picture.

Another photo is with the hint that Nokia Drive 3.0 is headed to Windows Phone. The maps application presents traffic information and the re-routing information if you miss your turn.

Microsoft has promised an event next Wednesday in San Francisco with theme that “A sneak peek at the future of Windows Phone”. We suppose that if not all the above features will be listed at the time, something new about Windows Phone must be stated.

It is expected that Windows Phone 8 will be equipped with multi-core processors, four screen resolutions, two hardware limitation that are currently crippling the ability to complete with Apple iPhone and Android devices. NFC is also included in the next generation OS. What do you think of Windows Phone 8?

June 14, 2012

Mac OS X Mountain Lion Updates: Confirms iCloud Document Storage, Messages, Notes Apps, Reminders and Game Center

During Apple WWDC 2012, a new operating system Mac OS X Mountain Lion, the iterative successor to Lion, was officially released with price at $19.99. It is available for downloading in July. Improvements include separate apps for Messages, Reminders, and Notes as well as a new notifications system. iCloud users can also store documents to the cloud.

Chinese Custom
When compared to the previous Mac OS X, there are rich optimizations on the functions of Mountain Lion for Chinese users. The Sina Weibo sharing feature is quite similar to the existing Twitter which can be used as a social network platform for sharing. Users only need to login in Sina Weibo account once and then share contents to Sina Weibo through system apps or third-party apps including Safari browser, iPhoto, image preview, Mac App Store, etc. which own the SHARE button.

Built-in iCloud Document Storage Service
Mountain Lion allows you to log in Apple ID for iCloud account setting when turning on Mac at the first time. iCloud can let Mac and iOS achieve real-time synchronization of Contacts, Bookmarks, Calendar, etc.. Meanwhile, the new iWork suite such as Pages can show files in iCloud when turning on, and the files can also be organized with file folders.

New iMessage
iMessage function is added to Mountain Lion, which allows message sending and receiving with iOS 5 devices. This is also the first version of the OS to support Facebook sharing

The new Reminders function that is added to iOS 5 is applied to Mountain Lion as well. It helps users remind of some specific matters and iCloud synchronization is supportable as well.

Power Nap
Power Nap can achieve auto update and synchronization when users are off work, for example, falling asleep. In addition, it can save the data automatically in the state of charge. This technology is only applied to the second generation MacBook Air and the new MacBook Pro.

Notes Apps
Support photos, accessories, as well as rich text formats etc. Hyperlink can be added conveniently as well. All can be synced to iOS devices through iCloud.

Inform Center
The new added Inform Center in iOS 5 is also transplanted to Mountain Lion. Calendar, Email, news, notification, Facetime, Game Center, App Store, Twitter and third-party apps notice will appear on the right side of the screen based on your settings.

Game Center
The most popular Game Center has been transplanted to Mac which is used to recommend friends and games for users. Game Center can also let users realize cross-platform gaming, so Mac user, iPhone users can iPod Touch users can play online games simultaneously. In-game voice chatting function is also available.

AirPlay Mirroring
In Mountain Lion, Apple adds Air Play function to Mac. So when your Mac and Apple TV are within the same network, Air Play icon will exist at the right of the tool bar, by clicking on it Mac screen can output to HDTV.

For malicious software, Gatekeeper function is added to Mountain Lion, including download validation, safe Safari browsing, program blacklist and etc.

Related Topics
Focus on Apple WWDC 2012: Apple iOS 6 with Siri Chinese Support and Built-in New Map
Top 10 Apple WWDC 2012 Forecasts: iPhone 5 New Hit Possible

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