Microsoft’s Windows RT-powered Surface has been… polarizing to say the least, leaving many a gadget fiend pondering the prospect of buying the more powerful Surface Pro instead.
The Redmond-based company has been keeping quiet when it came to the Pro’s more salient details, but Microsoft has finally come forward with some new info — the Surface Pro will be available in 64GB and 128GB models in January 2013, which will cost users $ 899 and $ 999, respectively.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing just how much of that internal memory will actually be available to users from the get-go, especially considering how things played out on the RT version. If you’ll recall, users who picked up the base 32GB Surface RT ended up only ended up with about 16GB of free space, despite originally being assured that they would have closer to 20GB to play with.
As previously noted, both models will ship with a Surface pen for more precise touch input, but users looking for a faster way to bang out essays and angry missives may still want to purchase a Touch or Type Cover. Some of the Surface Pro’s other particulars have been public knowledge for a while now — it’s a bit heavier than the RT model (though still less than 2 lbs), but it packs an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 1080p display into that handsome VaporMG chassis. Other enhancements over the Surface RT include a full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort jack, and (naturally) a beefier battery to run the show.
This is certainly a gutsy move for Microsoft — these price points put the Surface within striking distance of existing (not to mention well-reviewed) Windows 8 convertibles like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. As Gizmodo points out too, the price of a 64GB Surface Pro and a keyboard cover inches past that of an 11-inch MacBook Air, which may mean the Surface Pro could be left in a sort of no man’s land between lightweight laptops and more traditional tablets. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Surface Pro has a shot at success (I’ve grown rather fond of my own Surface RT), but we’ll soon see how the company’s hardware fortunes turn out.Related Posts:
Want to try out ROS (Robot Operating System) on an official Willow Garage product, but don’t have the $ 400,000 required to pick up our old pal, PR2? You’re precisely the audience the company is looking to hit with the TurtleBot, a (relatively) low-cost robotics kit (around $ 1,500) that looks a bit like small shelving united seated atop a Roomba. A couple of months back, the Bay Area-based company unveiled a sequel built on top of a new base, Yujin Robotics’s Kobuki, which promises more speed, letting the plucky little ‘bot run over small bumps.
Pick up the full kit and you’re also getting a Kinect sensor and a low-end laptop. Willow’s also got some add-ons like a small robotic arm that you can use to modify the thing. Stay tuned after the break to check out video of the ‘bot’s creators talking up the reptilian robot.
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While recent rumors suggested Sprint could be interested in snatching up Metro PCS, it may actually be the target of an acquisition.The Nikkei, Reuters and Wall Street Journal report it is in final talks with Japanese carrier Softbank. Just over a week ago Softbank snapped up rival eAccess in a billion dollar deal that added 50 percent more base stations to its LTE network and will move it from third to second largest in the country when it is completed. It got to third place with a leveraged buyout of Vodafone’s Japanese arm back in 2006, and CEO Masayoshi Son mentioned last week that he has his eye on the number one spot. We’re not exactly sure how a buyout of the third place American carrier fits into its plans, but we’re betting Softbank’s CFO is just trying to keep Son away from any juicy looking eBay “Buy It Now” auctions.
We wondered why Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith was slated as a keynote presenter at CTIA’s MobileCon — after all, what does renting cars have to do with mobile? Apparently, quite a lot. Griffith stated in his keynote that Zipcar’s app and mobile services have taken a much more central role in the organization. The company is developing its own in-car device holder so that customers can hook up their phones for hands-free functions, and more importantly, the Zipcar smartphone app is due for a major update. The current version can be used to schedule rentals and remote unlock vehicles, but future iterations will transform it into more of an “in-car assistant.” It’ll let you know more information about the car, help you around town with a personal recommendation service, stream your iTunes playlist, and detailed trip feedback like fuel-levels and car conditions will be far easier to report. Zipcar hopes to add new members through the app as well — just take a photo of your driver’s license and get an approval “in minutes.” According to Griffith, the connected car will change our urban landscape, especially with the combination of services like Lyft, Uber, bike sharing, and public transit. It’s not quite the flying car, but the nerd in us is sufficiently pleased.
We’re hoping for big news from UK carrier partnership Everything Everywhere over the next couple of months — not just the first real LTE service in the British Isles (as if that wasn’t enough), but also new handsets to put that bandwidth to use. According to the Financial Times, the conglomerate is now in talks with Nokia to make that happen, with the LTE-sporting Lumia 920 standing to become an Everything Everywhere exclusive if the negotiations end happily. There’s nothing official to confirm it at this point, but Nokia struggled to win over some carriers with its last batch of Lumias and has now made it clear that it’s open to alternative strategies, just as it already has a special relationship with AT&T in the States. Of course, by the time the Lumia 920 reaches the UK — likely in early November — there could well be another honest-to-goodness 4G superphone in its midst.
Today at the Windows Phone Developer Summit, we had the opportunity to sit down with Kevin Shields, SVP of Program and Product Management at Nokia, and chat about the day’s announcements including Windows Phone 8. Our discussion started with the apps Nokia unveiled today — PlayTo for DLNA support, Nokia Counter to monitor data usage, My Commute for personalized routing, an update of Nokia Music to 3.0 and the Camera Extras imaging suite — which are rolling out next week for all Lumia handsets running Windows Phone 7.5. Kevin gave us a little more insight on Camera Extras, a set of four apps (Self Timer, Panorama Maker, Action Shot and Smart Group Shot) designed to enhance the camera experience which leverage technology from Nokia’s recent Scalado acquisition.
We then moved on to discussing Windows Phone 8 and specifically NFC support, with a small tangent spent on Kevin showing us the recently launched Lumia 610 NFC. The next topic was about what we can expect from Nokia in terms of hardware for upcoming phones running the latest iteration of Microsoft’s mobile OS. We know that the first batch of Windows Phone 8 devices will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core SoC, but on the topic of quad-core processors Kevin said “where additional hardware makes a difference, then sure, let’s talk about it,” adding “we’re going to stay committed to the experience.” Finally we discussed the future of Nokia’s PureView technology and how it fits in with the next generation mobile OS. PureView “is a core technology that we are dedicated to and invested in” said Kevin. Sounds quite promising, right?
We can’t wait to see what the next wave of Lumia handsets brings to the table. Until then, go ahead and watch our video interview.
While visiting the Innovation Showcase at CTIA 2012, we ran into Nick Pudar — OnStar’s VP of Business Development — who was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time. We sat in the LTE Skype-enabled Chevy Volt on display and discussed such topics as OnStar FMV, RelayRides and smart grids — wherein power utilities can (with the customer’s consent) send a signal to a vehicle to control when it charges. The idea is to allows utilities to maximize grid efficiency and minimize power spikes while giving customers options for when to charge the vehicle — like when the rates are the lowest or when the power generated is coming from renewable energy, for example. Pretty neat stuff, eh? Watch our video interview for all the (pardon the pun) juicy details.
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Gears of War 3 announcement confirmed the game for an April 2011 release. UK, April 9, 2010 -plz rate and sub! Microsoft has inadvertently revealed Gears of War 3, with an announcement for the game fleetingly appearing on the Xbox 360 dashboard today.The man who brought us Gears of War talks motion controllers, what’s in store for everyone’s favorite blood-soaked series, and more about Multiplayer. The announcement, since deleted, confirmed the game for an April 2011 release. An official announcement was believed to be coming through Cliff Bleszinski’s appearance on The Jimmy Fallon show, which has now been delayed to Monday. Rumoured gameplay details emerged yesterday, revealing that the final part of the trilogy that began in 2006 would feature a refined cover system and underwater elements. IGN has contacted Microsoft for further confirmation expect to hear more on the game in the coming weeks.Related Posts:
David Ellefson Rock Shop is a solid and simple guitar/bass amp-modeling app that runs on iOS. It is made by PocketLabWorks and works in conjunction with the company’s iRiff Port cable/interface. In case you hadn’t guessed by the name of the app, special consultation was provided by David Ellefson (bass player and founding member of Megadeth) in order to achieve the sound of his bass and guitar rigs.
How does it sound? The tones, while specific to a few amps and cabinets, are quite excellent and resonant. The settings are based off Mr. Ellefson’s amp setup which provides a gritty bass tone, full of attack. I liked it. (You can hear David playing through it at the PocketLabWorks website).
I had a few questions about how it was developed so rather than take my usual Paneldome approach, this time I was able to track down David for a Skype call and get some info from him directly. He was kind enough to take the time to talk with me.
A price tag of $ 9.99 might seem a bit steep to some. I might have thought that myself a year ago, but since that time, $ 9 or $ 10 apps have ceased to be as much of a hurdle for me as they used to be. That’s one iTunes album (if you’re lucky). No big deal.
I would say this is a fan’s app and I would likely pick it up for $ 9.99 myself because I am a fan. A large part of what you are purchasing are the tones and David’s main preset. Plus the app easily integrates David’s existing catalog of “how to” YouTube videos directly from within.
However the app does have other valuable tools like iTunes play along, effects processing and the awesomely named “slow downer” (which lets you slow down tracks for practice without changing pitch…a must-have for learning thrash and speed metal these days). I think these could push some non-fans over the edge to purchase it too.
Beyond the workings of the app itself, what struck me as interesting is what it represents in terms of marketing evolution.
I had many a Megadeth cassette back in the day — I’m old enough for that. And Megadeth has been around for a long time…almost 30 years. They helped invent and define the Thrash Metal music genre.
At first glance a sentence like that might make these guys sound old, but on the contrary — helping to develop an app like this is a strikingly contemporary action. I think it shows how connected David actually is to the evolving mechanisms of the music biz and that at least some members of the group are evolving as business-people and marketers by figuring out new ways to get the sounds they have created to the fans of their music.