Thunderbolt is a little more than a month from its two-year anniversary, and it’s hard to say that the connector is anything more than an expensive, niche product. Things have picked up a bit, but there’s clearly something holding back manufacturers. Intel may be the culprit: according to Ars Technica, the chipmaker’s director of Thunderbolt Marketing & Planning, Jason Ziller, said Intel “‘worked closely’ with vendors it felt could ‘offer the best products’ and could meet its stringent ‘certification requirements.’” We’ve heard rumblings before that Intel’s licensing process was part of the holdup behind getting more (and cheaper) Thunderbolt products out there, but this is the first time we’ve heard Intel suggest it is cherry-picking…
App discoverability is a constant thorn in the side of developers. It’s also an obvious annoyance for consumers who have to spent time sifting through app store chaff to find the bits of software really worth downloading. Amazon looks to be considering both sides of this problem with a new feature — called Billboards — it’s just added to the Kindle Fire and Fire HD app store.
Announced on its blog today, Billboards aim to act like posters for apps by announcing their existence and enticing people to download them.
Billboards appear at the top of Amazon’s app store when Kindle Fire and Fire HD users view the store. Tapping on a Billboard will jump straight into the app info page, where there’s also an option to buy or download it.
Amazon’s blog post includes some guidance for the kind of imagery it deems suitable for Billboards — encouraging developers to create simple, bold, eye-catching imagery. It also warns them off from listing specifics such as price or advertising discounts on the Billboards.
When creating your image, we recommend that you strive for an engaging image that speaks to what your app is all about. Make your image colorful to catch the eye of customers, and choose imagery that promotes the essence of your app and brand. Text on your promotional image should be large, simple, and readable. Do not add the price to the image ($ 0.99) or any discount call outs (50% off).
We recommend developers use promotional images that visually communicate the essence of their app. The promotional image should speak to what your app is all about, your brand and should entice customers to simply check out your great app.
App developers wanting to add a Billboard image to accompany their app should submit a 1024 x 500 pixels graphic (PNG or JPG format) via Amazon’s Mobile App Distribution Portal.
Of course there are no guarantees your Billboard will appear atop Amazon’s store — since Amazon is the one doing the picking. “Promotional images will be curated from our selection of apps and highlighted in the billboards placement,” it notes.Related Posts:
Confirming the news that HTC’s One S had arrived in the mother land of Taiwan toting a higher-clocked (but older) Snapdragon processor, the company has added where this rejigged device is headed — at least broadly. While the US, UK, Japan, Korean, France and Germany have been enjoying the high-performance thrills of a dual-core Snapdragon S4, according to The Verge, the S3 variant will launch across Asia-Pacific regions and some (as-yet unspecified) European markets. HTC will, however, be marking out which sort of processing hardware’s inside the two models — if it’s got a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, you’ve got the Snapdragon S3, if it’s 1.5GHz then you have the newer S4. The company is also working to claim more of Qualcomm’s latest mobile processor for the One S roll-out, but we’d advise checking the spec sheet before you take the plunge in the aforementioned regions.
A Galaxy S II it is not, but that isn’t a bad thing, as not everyone’s kosher with cramming 4.65-inches worth of superphone into their pocket. Enter T-Mobile’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G — a souped up Galaxy S class device with some new silicon from its faster (and larger) brother. Hitting select stores March 21st, followed by more retail outlets and online on the 28th, those plunking down the $ 150 asking price will be treated to a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, a 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA panel and a 5-inch rear shooter with 720p video capture. TouchWiz and Gingerbread are still the name of the game here, but Samsung’s assured us an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade will come in due course. With a couple of weeks before judgement day, why not get cozy with our hands-on from MWC? Go-on, it won’t bite.
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Did you just brave the lines of a midnight launch party and snag yourself a PS Vita in the US? Good news ye early adopters, Sony’s PlayStation.Blog.US has just announced that select free apps will be available today as part of today’s PlayStation Store update. Currently, you’ll find Netflix, LiveTweet and Flickr, but there’s still nary of trace of Facebook or Foursquare among the bunch (nor any official word on release dates for that matter). We gave each app a download and quick spin prior to them being officially listed, and everything’s running fairly smooth so far. Disappointingly, Vita’s 20MB cap on 3G data is totally in effect on Netflix, as switching to our cellular connection denied us any access to the service. We’re giving the apps some extended use to bring you our initial impressions shortly, but for now, you’ll find more info at the source link below.
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While Super Hi-Vision isn’t expected to bring its 7,680 x 4,320 resolution (16x more detail than your 1080p display, for those keeping count) home for several years, the NHK and BBC have confirmed it will be available for public screenings next year during the 2012 London Olympics. Screening dates have been arranged for three countries (Japan, UK, and US), and it appears domestic viewers will want to plan on visiting the Washington D.C. area next July / August to get a taste of the 33 megapixel video and 22.2 channel surround sound for themselves. Next year’s Games have already put extensive 3D coverage on the schedule and NBC has promised every event will be available for viewing live as it happens for the first time, so there’s plenty for everyone to look forward to. The only question now? Whether or not that silly false start rule can be changed so we don’t face the prospect of a men’s 100m dash final without Usain Bolt in it.
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The much-anticipated Google TV update is systematically rolling out today. Sony Internet TV devices are first in line followed by Logitech Revue units shortly thereafter. But wait patiently. As with most major updates, the OTA update will not hit all the boxes at once, but rather at a selective pace. You can initiate a manual check under the About section in the Settings menu, but a notification should pop-up when your box’s number has been called.
It’s still not available on my Sony Internet TV but the update is already in the wild per a screenshot from AndroidCentral.
Google announced the big update last week. It brings to Google TV the Android Market along with a totally new user interface. Plus, the system is now built on the newer Android 3.1 release, which should make for a much smoother experience. Google TV has always shown so much promise and this latest coat of paint improves its draw even more. But only the consumer marketplace will decide if the overhaul ultimately spurs a GTV revival.
If you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the incredibly crowded portable storage space, you can innovate and create something totally awesome, or you can do this. The mDock from mLogic is an external hard drive, port extender and port blocker all rolled into one pricey coffin-like chamber of fail. $ 219 will net you an eternal resting place for 500 gigs of data, while $ 299 ups the ante to an entire terabyte. Plus, with a pair of front-facing USB ports, you can add a third-party portable storage yokel for the less-than-princely sum of 50 bucks. If you haven’t already gathered, the mDock is designed for mMacbook Pros, but there’s also the iMac-mountable mBack (curiously not the iBack), designed with Apple’s familiar desktop flavor in mind. That variant is slightly more affordable, with pricing ranging from $ 169 for 1TB to $ 349 for 3TB, but you’ll forgo the dock-like USB hub and headphone jack. There’s no word on when to expect these life-changing devices in stores, but it’s never too early to dust off the mChair iChair and park yourself on 5th Ave.
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Here it is, ladies and nerds: the Pioneer AppRadio. As the name implies it’s centered around applications in a smartphone-ish sort of way. All the big boys are here: RDIO, Pandora, and Google Maps along with the driver-centric apps of INRIX and MotionX-GPS Drive. This is possible through the Pioneer AppRadio iOS app that serves up data and app access to the head-unit from a connected iPhone or iPod touch. It lacks the native iOS support we had incorrectly heard it has, but features enough compelling features to earn a good deal of respect.
The aftermarket audio scene has been somewhat stagnant over the last decade. The biggest innovation was navigation and perhaps the addition of a USB host, but GUIs and even prices have stayed about the same. Pioneer has a real chance with the AppRadio to push the rest of the industry into embracing connected data and, in a way, learn to take a back seat to the smartphone by servering a more companion role — as it should be.
A WVGA (800 x 480) 6.1-inch capacitive multitouch serves up all the action. But there’s nothing behind it. The screen doesn’t flip down to reveal a fancy iPhone dock or even an optical drive. iPhones and iPod touches connect to the unit through a Dock Connector cable that hooks into the rear of the radio so it’s up to the installer to hide this wire.
Updates and more apps come by way of a Pioneer iOS app. When an iDevice is connected it unlocks all the wonders of Google Maps including search, routing, directions and even drop pins bookmarks. The iDevice serves up reformated apps to the AppRadio and Pioneer wrangled several popular apps to hit the device at launch and custom versions of RDIO and Pandora are currently available.
This iDevice dependency comes at a price, though. While the AppRadio can certainly stand on its own without a connected device, it loses most of its appeal. Also, Android owners need not apply. Pioneer isn’t servering their kind as Bluetooth connectivity seems only for phone functions and not for streaming content or data connectivity sharing. The AppRadio doesn’t have an optical drive and I worry about the capacitive screen handling direct sunlight. Still, the AppRadio is a welcomed addition to the car audio aftermarket scene.
Pioneer hasn’t announced the price or exact release date yet, but the press announcement states that the “AppRadio will be available in late June with a suggested retail price below $ 500.”
Side note: big props to our graphic guy Bryce for making a nearly accurate hardware rendering based on blurry FCC pics and several emails from a tester. The OS is clearly wrong, but he nailed the button design.
It’s a classic romantic tale of “network meets OS, network disables OS,” and just like any love story, this one is building up to a happy ending. Fourteen months after AT&T introduced a lineup of crippled Android phones that weren’t allowed to install third-party apps, the carrier extended an olive branch to fans of the OS by quietly slipping the sideloading capability onto the Samsung Infuse 4G; now, the network is reportedly updating three members of its Android lineup — the HTC Inspire 4G, HTC Aria, and Samsung Captivate — sometime today. We’re sure there were many Atrix users scanning this short list with fingers crossed, but unfortunately your phone did not make the cut this time. No word on why your favs were left out, but at least four devices with Amazon Appstore access is still better than zero. At present time we haven’t seen the updates get pushed to our phones, however, so we’d love to hear if any of you have seen differently down in comments below.
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