Sony may have unveiled a slew of new audio products back at CES 2013, but the company has been relatively quiet when it comes to launching ones that are compatible with Apple’s novel Lightning connector. That being said, it looks as if folks in the Land of the Rising Sun will soon be able to pair their current-gen iOS device with a dock from the PlayStation maker, thanks to the recently announced SRS-GC11IP. Pictured above, this little 0.8W speaker isn’t loaded with fancy features like Bluetooth 4.0 or WiFi, but it does offer convenient functions such as an alarm clock and AM / FM radio — these, of course, go along with the ability to also play tunes straight from a Lighting-ready iDevice or, with the proper RDP-NWC11 model, a new-era Walkman and many different smartphones. Whether we’ll ever see the as-yet-unpriced tubular peripheral hit other markets, well, that still remains to be seen, with Sony only going so far as to listing it as “coming soon” on its Japanese website.
Gallery: Sony RDP-NWC11 speaker dock
Gallery: Sony RDP-NWC11 speaker dock
Microsoft is releasing an over the air update for the HTC 8X that stops the phone from switching from a Wi-Fi connection to cellular when its screen times out. The behavior has been a constant thorn in the sides of Windows Phone users since Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 over two years ago. According to WPCentral, a user in Italy confirmed that after updating, a checkbox was available in advanced Wi-Fi settings to “Keep Wi-Fi on when screen times out.” The first evidence of the new setting was spotted last week by WPCentral on a different handset, the HTC 8S. The new software also marks the first OTA update to Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 platform.
So far, the update hasn’t arrived on our own US-based 8X and 8S devices, which…
Samsung started pushing a new Jelly Bean update to its Galaxy S III phones yesterday, and it’s posted a video breaking down some of the features. Many of the “Premium Suite” upgrades are cribbed from the Galaxy Note II, but we’re sure users will still enjoy multi-window, a customizable notification panel, smart rotation and more. The video shows off the new multitasking, NFC and reader features, plus contextual awareness tweaks that adjust the phone around your actions. Some of the other new features are apparently being saved for part two of the video, but if you need something to keep busy until 4.2 eventually arrives you can check it out after the break.
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Following in the footsteps of Microsoft — who leaned on the charms of Jessica Alba to help it promote the virtues of Windows Phone 8 — Acer has unveiled a new commercial for the Aspire S7 ultrabook starring Megan Fox. You’d hardly know it’s intended to sell the new Windows 8 laptop, however, since Megan owns most of the 90-second screen time, leaving the S7 to make only occasional cameos. It’s like the company constructed an awkwardly scripted mini-movie and decided to do some product placement in it.
While this latest ad may not be Acer’s finest moment, it’s intriguing to note that it’s part of a broader marketing campaign from the company, focusing on using well-known actors to promote its products. Acer has been angling to make a…
If you missed Apple’s new iPod lineup among the frenzy that surrounded last month’s iPhone 5 announcement, you aren’t alone. But these were the first new iPods from Apple in two years.
This week, I found out how much the iPod family has matured since 2010. I tested the new $ 299-and-up iPod touch and the $ 149 iPod nano. These are very different products, but they both carry Apple’s simple touch interface. And both make good gifts because they won’t saddle the recipient with monthly phone bills: The iPod touch runs on Wi-Fi and the iPod nano doesn’t wirelessly connect to the Internet.
[ See post to watch video ]
First things first: What’s new? The iPod touch screen now has the same screen as the iPhone 5: A four-inch Retina display with sharp, bright colors. The previous iPod touch was thin, but at 0.24 inch thick and 3.1 ounces, this new one almost feels like a mock-up of an iPod touch. Its notably improved camera now includes a flash, as well as image stabilization and face detection. And it runs iOS 6, the latest operating system from Apple, so it has features like panorama for photos, full Facebook integration, iMessage and Passbook.
Meanwhile, the iPod nano, which is somewhat of an Apple wild child because of its ever-morphing shape and size, has sloughed off its predecessor’s square shape for a return to the rectangle. A 2.5-inch screen and small Home button take up the face of this 1.1-ounce, seventh-generation iPod nano. It resembles a teensy iPhone that a squirrel could use. A new play/pause button runs along the side between volume up and down. This remains the only iPod with FM radio, which works when connected to EarPods — a redesigned version of the white earbuds that come with all iPods. The nano has Bluetooth for the first time, though it still lacks Wi-Fi. But that is just fine for how most people will use this iPod.
The new iPod Touch has the same 4-inch screen as the iPhone 5. (Photo is not to scale.)
On the downside, Apple’s new EarPods weren’t music to my ears. During a cross-country flight, I had to take them out after just 30 minutes because they hurt so much. When I tried them again during a walk, I had the same reaction. But as Apple’s TV commercials are fond of saying, everyone’s ears are different.
I started small, first testing the iPod nano. This device is ideal for people who aren’t super tech savvy yet want a way to listen to music and track their fitness progress. Out of the box, the iPod nano will play music via an FM radio and will monitor your fitness stats using a preinstalled Nike+ app. (When the app was first introduced years ago, it only worked with a piece that fit into special Nike sneakers.)
You can plug the Nano into a computer to sync with music, photos, videos and podcasts.
The nano’s Nike+ app tracks data like steps walked, as well as calories burned, time and distance during runs. I tapped on the Nike+ icon and entered my weight and height, which helped calculate personalized data. In the morning, I tapped “Walk” in Nike+ before my 15-minute walk to the Metro, and a pedometer started and stopped as I did. You also can upload the data to the Nike+ Web site.
The new iPod nano now has built-in Bluetooth and weighs just 1.1 ounces. (Photo is not to scale.)
The Run section in Nike+ let me choose Basic, Time, Distance or Calorie to determine the goals I wanted to set. If you wear headphones while using this device, you’ll hear audio encouragement in your ears as you go. A History section tracks personal bests and workout totals.
I really liked using the FM radio. I tapped a star icon to save favorite radio stations and hit the skip ahead or back buttons to jump to save stations. I tapped the screen to display controls for pausing and rewinding live radio as far back as 15 minutes.
Battery life for this iPod nano is expected to last 30 hours, according to Apple’s estimate. I used it intermittently for various activities, but never had to worry about charging it.
Speaking of charging, the nano and the touch both use Apple’s new Lightning connector, though neither ships with a wall adapter, like the iPhone. They come with USB cables that let you charge the devices by plugging into a computer’s USB port.
I used the new iPod touch in many of the same ways I use the iPhone 5: Downloading apps I own (thanks to Apple’s iCloud backup service) and playing my iTunes music. I corresponded with friends via email and iMessage, created Photo Streams to share with people and navigated around town with Apple Maps. But I usually had to be in a Wi-Fi network.
The 5-megapixel, iSight camera on this iPod touch is a pleasure to use. Its flash makes it reliable in all situations. And videos I recorded in 1080p HD quality looked like I captured them on an iPhone 5.
The new iPod touch comes in two versions: a 32-gigabyte version for $ 299 and a 64GB version for $ 399. Apple is still selling its fourth-generation iPod touch in black and white colors, starting at $ 199 for the 16GB version.
The new features and slick designs of these new iPods give the category a boost that makes them desirable devices rather than second-tier siblings to the iPhone.
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Amazon’s Cloud Drive has rounded out its European tour with releases in the remaining major markets: Spain and Italy. Pricing in these regions matches that of the UK, Germany and France, with 8 euros (around $ 10) netting you 20GB of storage for a year, on top of the complimentary 5GB you get for signing up. You’ll be able to access this space through your browser, desktop apps, or any of the new Kindle Fires when they start hitting Euro doorsteps at the end of the month. Plus, Amazon’s giving US customers the ability to share files with whomever they choose, and Mac users worldwide can now upload their iPhoto library hassle-free. With Cloud Drive now available, the Appstore ready to roll, and Fire hardware making its way to the Continent, we’re starting to think Amazon quite likes it there.
Microsoft has revealed its Xbox Music service pricing through the Windows 8 Music app, at the same time as pushing out a beta Xbox dashboard update that gives testers a chance to try out the on-console interface. The service, which has yet to be fully unveiled, will offer unlimited streaming for £8.99 per month — the same price as a British Zune Pass — or £89.90 per year. We expect US pricing to mirror the UK’s in matching the current Zune Pass pricing. To use the service on Xbox, you’ll need to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. A forum post on NeoGAF has also revealed that Xbox Music will offer a free advert-supported service similar to Spotify, along with a scan-and-match locker service — something we’ve independently…
Unsurprisingly, Apple left us in the dark regarding some specifics of the iPhone 5 upon its release. Thankfully, the good folks over at Anandtech have done a bit of digging into those numbers you see bordering Apple’s Apple A6 SoC, definitively figuring out that Cupertino’s latest phone packs in a total 1GB of Samsung-sourced memory. The site clocks the DRAM inside at 1,066Mhz, noting that it’s comprised of “two 512MB dies in a dual-channel LPDDR2 package with 32 bits per channel.” Further, Anandtech lists the the speed of the iPhone 5′s memory at 8,528MB/sec — an ample 33 percent boost over the 6,400MB/sec rating for the RAM in the iPhone 4S, but well below the 12,800 MB/sec needed to drive the new iPad’s bandwidth-hungry screen resolution.
Beyond that, the site believes that the A6 is Apple’s first truly in-house creation, as it’s using math units too new to be found in a ARM Cortex-A9 architecture (like the A5 or A5X) but reportedly isn’t a match for the soon-to-be-released Cortex-A15. If true, the implication is significant — it suggests Apple is taking the more aggressive path of a chip designer like Qualcomm and custom-tailoring large parts of its processor designs to get the speed it wants on a more exacting schedule. That’s a quick summation of the details; hit up the source links below if you want the explanation in full geek speak.
Jon Fingas contributed to this post.
Amazon has refreshed its Kindle app to include support for swiping and other gesture navigation features for Macs running Lion OS X or higher. It will now display Kindle’s new Format 8 books, allowing for more complicated formatting, HTML5 support, pop-up text, embedded fonts and other visual accoutrements to spice up your Mac-based reading. The update also adds Japanese language support alongside the typical pile of bug fixes and tweaks. You can download the new reader from the Mac App Store now, right at the source link below.
Google is bringing voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation to Android smartphone users in India. While the functionality’s been available since January if you’ve rooted your device, the official version lands today with a localized “Indian English” voice option. At the same time, it’s adding live traffic information for major roads in big cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad — with both arriving today on handsets running Gingerbread and up. At the same time, it’s giving Google Map Maker and Biking Directions to users in New Zealand — and college students at over 150 universities worldwide will now be able to find themselves thanks to Street View maps on campus. Of course, that does mean you can no longer use Google as an excuse as to why you missed Phys. Ed. 202 next semester.