Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category


Sony’s New Xperia Z Ultra ‘Phablet’ Now for Something Completely Different

Loren W
Melbourne Oz
Update 15 August 2013

Question: What do you get when you cross technology from a mobile phone, tablet, and a classy TV ?
Answer : A real big phone, an average size tablet (based on the new 7" form factors) , and a real small TV, a GREAT picture, with a sophisticated elegance

Ladies & Gents, Geeks & Geekettes the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Mobile Phone / Phablet (or c6802)

image

Actually launched in June 2013 (shhh don’t tell anyone), Note: that quiet launch unless repeated for the west, might be the only downfall of this otherwise spectacular device.

As when I got the Samsung Note 1, the first thing I thought was, Oh Crap, this thing is too big.  But I knew as with the Samsung Note 1, I would get used to it fast. Now, as a long time Samsung fan in everything they offer, from TVs, and Appliances to testing their first phablets (large mobile phones) via the Galaxy Note 1, since its launch in 2011 so this was an easy decision.

Unfortunately being a new tech junkie wanting everything new, the Samsung Note 2 did not float my boat beyond, the boat floating I was still feeling from the Note 1. I loved it, and am now hooked on the form factor of the Phablets. I am not so sure that the Samsung Note 3 will be so radical to make me want it as bad, as I thought I wanted the Note 2.

clip_image002

Magpie Effect- However, on looking to see what my next phone was going to be, I made a discovery I am sure many already had made. The Samsung Note 2, has a larger bezel on it than many of the new phones. This means I could buy a smaller phone yet still get the same or similar screen size depending on the phone of course of what many refer to as the first real Phablet (tablet sized mobile phone).
This has been badly reported on in the media.

clip_image004

Nokia- Personally I almost bought a Nokia 1020, I love the idea, of the amazing camera. But I did not for the same reason I dumped my 1st Windows 8 Phone Mobile, the eco-system for Microsoft does not do it for me app wise. There are some great apps, but how Microsoft goes from being the world leader in dumb phones / PDAs, with Windows CE to last place in smart phones war still amazes me as an old school Microsoft fan boy. I want to play as well as work, and the balance is skewed against Windows Phone 8 for me. Windows has a big advantage, the last to market, but I have not seen anything to make me think they are going to pull out an Internet Explorer vs.. Netscape Play.

The result of all of that and as I will soon be going on a holiday to an exotic South Pacific destination, a bit of snorkeling and a bit of diving, so am getting a GoPro pro, but I was looking strongly at the benefits of the Sony Xperia Z, then I discovered something amazing to me, Sony has gone and launched their new Phablet version of the Xperia Z (called the Ultra) globally (outside the USA). It then turned out it is for sale in many countries already. Again to well reported and not reported at all in most of the usual USA press.

One phone call later and I have a review unit due in 2 days herein Australia. As I scratch below the surface (no MS pun attended), I have discovered a few interesting facts on this device that is raising as many questions as it answers, before I even receive the device.

clip_image006

Convergence – Before I get into the device, (a more detailed review is forthcoming when I receive it), I have to raise what might the elephant in the room that has not been discussed in the present sense yet.
We have long known that the day would come when a Phablet would be the same size as a tablet. But with the rise in demand and increased interest in 7”tablets, and now 6+” Phablets, emerging, more so with the Samsung Note 3, at least a 5’7” phone, that day is nigh and I expect a big story in the weeks ahead. Obvious questions is when the next iPhone will be a Phablet, or the iPad a phone. Will the Nexus 7 (2014) be a phone, and an alternative to a Nexus 4. Or the Motorola Nexus Phone 2 (announced) be a Phablet?

clip_image008

Phablets = Tablets – An interesting element of this is reading reviews comparing the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, not to any present or forthcoming phone/phablets, but to the new Nexus 7 (2013) and iPad mini. A silly comparison if you ask me, unless the Nexus 7 (2013) and iPads are a phone, but sets I believe the ground game for what happens next.

Picture This – The physical size as mentioned is 6.4” on the Sony, and 7” on the Nexus 7 – ( 2013) 1080×1920 and 1280 x 800 respectively. However, the Nexus 7 has an impressive ~323ppi whilst the Sony has an equally amazing ~344ppi. The Sony takes a micro SSD to 64gb whilst tablets do not. Wi-Fi is also offers a/b/g/n/ac, and a 2.2 ghz cpu vs the 1.5GHz on the Nexus

clip_image010

Waterproof – Oh, did I mention HD Video underwater- to 5 feet ? Though the phone has an average camera by today’s standard, (same as the Note 2). However the Sony has no flash, possibly a big deal. In all the tests I have seen thus far, the Sony, Ultra Z appears to triumph pretty easily over the Samsung Note 2, how it will compare against the Note 3 remains to be seen. Sony have competed against the stylus pen of Samsung by suggesting users can use anything they want from their finger to a real pencil instead of the OMG I going to lose Samsung Note stylus. Possible improvements by Samsung in the Note 3 might include a flexible display, 3GB vs. 2GB of RAM, whilst the Note 3 will likely have the respectable 13MP camera vs. the Note 2 camera in the Sony. Samsung Note 3 body construction is still a bit of a mystery.

A Little TV – Tech

Sony Bravia range

With the Z Ultra, Sony uses 2 bits of Tv tech to Improve the picture from the Bravia TV side of things partly.

These are Triluminos and X-Reality Engine technologies. With the ~342 pixel density, this gives the Z Ultra one of the best displays period and the best by far on a Phablet. Sony had been given a bad rap previously (perhaps deserved) for not having the crispest of colors. Triluminos effectively uses quantum dots, to give a 50% crisper color by allowing better color separation thus less wash out. This is further done by something called quantum dots, that effectively means to the human eye colors are crisper. The X reality engine does the same thing in reverse sort of by analyzing the image received then separating the colors. Effectively it improves image quality in dark or over bright areas to get the tones right.

Not for everyone perhaps this hybrid device really is one to be considered.


Or oh hell another tablet contender

Melbourne Australia
8 March 2013
by Loren

Asus Windows8 ME400 – Review

Asus ME400C

The Name Game: Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 RT
When Windows unveiled the naming strategy for windows tablet, IT folks from around the world sighed. We knew this was a bad idea, and confusing at best. If respected and knowledgeable IT journalists knew this was bad and confusing, what were the poor consumer going to do.

Politically, Microsoft decided to make their own flagship devices so partners like Asus and others were a bit on the back foot.

The result would be a dead WindowsRT, and a confused public and retailer. To this day I cannot find a single retailer in Australia that knows which device they have that is WindowsRT vs Windows 8 RT, vs Windows 8. I add the Windows 8 RT as many have sold devices labeled as such as well as Windows RT (no 8). THis is before you ever compare and look at reviewing a device.

The review:  Asus ME400C- Imagine taking your average laptop or good netbook, running Windows8 (yes the real version), add an average touchscreen to it and throw the keyboard away. What you have left is this new (and perhaps all) Windows8 tablets. Yes you can then add back a keyboard and yes you can add an OSK (on screen keyboard), but it is what it is.

So Windows8 in tablet form is a total failure, emmm, not quite yet boy blunder.

Unlike Apple, – the iPad was re-imagined to not have these problems it offered pages that get re-sized, and the OSK is intuitive.I will try to not make this a total whinge-fest promise, but I am aggravated. As you can tell from the photo I am tablet agnostic. I have 2x iPad2, (kids) 1x Nexus 7 (in my Jeep), 1 x iPad mini (mainly for streaming TV from PC to Apple TV with AirVideo Server Software) a Nexus 10 for everyday use (as well as various PCs/Macs/smartphones/phablets).
Living in a Microsoft World – I live in the hope of the golden chalice. Affordable powerful able to do everything I need, good video,  the versatility of Android, the steadfastness and it just works aspect of the iOS of iPad (but tired of that interface). For those living in at least a partially influenced Microsoft world crave a device that is well, like removing the keyboard form a good (adequate) windows laptop, but still working well.
I say this as they all have their strengths and weaknesses. However now having an iPad mini, I see no benefit in the larger iPad form factor (but that is just me). Within the plethora of strengths and weaknesses (enough to spend a week on the SWOT analysis alone), there are gaps.
Flash Surfing– For the avid online surfer, it is unfortunately impossible to easily avoid flash. The horse that will just not die (and go to Europe to be dispersed evenly among us otherwise normally safe beef-eaters), was not supposed to live this long, Steve Jobs announced its passing, years ago, and HTML5 was one of the daggers that was supposed to save us all has not happened.This means that we can tweak our Android devices until the cows come home  all we like,  or even Jailbreak our iPads, so they will show that video we want to see, but it is just not user friendly.

For goodness sake we are days away from the 3rd  anniversary of the launch of the iPad1, and a perfect device has not met us yet. I do not think I ask much, a tablet that has a good selection of apps, business software and good interaction, and watch anything a browser has to offer easily.

asusme400cvivotabsmart64gb01_thumb.jpg
Asus ME400C VivoTab Smart 64G

Microsoft on launching Windows8 has got it pretty right despite themselves and their partners. Being in Technology Product Management for decades, I can never imagine a worse managed launch and ongoing debacle then Windows8 has thrust upon the masses. So bad it continues at this moment with no sign of stopping the blood-letting, and already killing their own products before they almost even launch.

When Windows 8 began their seemed Lewis Carol like visions, what-ever made them to want to offer an under developed, under resourced product like Windows 8 RT, defies logic. Making things worse there are a bevy of Windows 8 RT in the marketplace, making even the seasoned Pro, have over examine the products to determine their OS.

So is the case with the new Windows ASUS ME400C. Before I knew much about the device, it was already in the stores here in Australia alongside its non-touch laptop, and android tablet brethren. However what version of Windows 8 is on it? I looked at the device I could not tell, I looked at the box I could not tell. I ran the device it was not obvious (in stores they are locked down so you cannot just type system. I asked the friendly (sometimes staff). When I had to explain what Windows 8 RT was I knew I was not likely going to get an informed answer. Low and behold I went into one shop and they knew what Windows RT was but had no idea which device was which. A bit of research later we are at this point.

The ASUS ME400C – screams to be early adopter in so many ways, and is buggy. I guess in some ways I and the market have been waiting years for this though. An affordable tablet running the latest (and full) Windows OS and needing no key board, or mouse to make it work. However, the transition of windows8 from a PC or laptop is not flawless in tablet form as mentioned

It might be the form factor or a Windows 8 issue, I cannot tell, but is a great early attempt at a full-fledged Windows 8 tablet specifically for the $500 price tag.

Not Tablet Ready – One thing Android and better yet Apple do, is scroll to fit the appropriate videos or websites. Even typing in my name to Gmail, was not an easy exercise. I could not scroll, even when I turned the tablet. Even something as simple as trying to run a bandwidth speed test on a website was hard. Worse still is a problem the ASUS has with videos. If you go from portrait to landscape or visa verse sometimes the video will not render back. Sometimes even the UI itself has this problem. I am not sure if it is the Power VR SGX545 Graphics or what exactly. There lays the biggest challenge. Is it a form factor, is it the device or is it Windows 8. I cannot tell yet.

Other challenges, I have had multiple problems from getting my Wi-Fi set up, and have to spend 2 days trying to activate (yet able to get online and get updates,) so I am likely to have to phone in for activation.

Not a big deal for me, but one that means I have to spend days getting it set-up properly before possibly having to return it.

Other issues – When not at 75% charge, the screen with dims slightly at different intervals, when playing videos. I have checked power settings and changed all those first of course. The device came with Netflix, which is annoying as it does not work without IP spoofing in Australia.

Good News: The size of the tablet is almost identical to devices like the Samsung 10.1 Tablet / Nexus 10, allowing you to use accessories like the Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case. The keyboard offers great versatility and gives you that keyboard back a dedicated version is also available that does fit a bit better.

Unfortunately like a PC when you add a wireless keyboard you can equally you the OSK it doesn’t care and worse doesn’t act any different.

I believe the mostly likely scenario will be tweaking the Windows8 tablets, with better browsers or even a better UI enhancements to allow it to do the many things everyone expects. Otherwise Windows8 will die in tablet form.

Some niceties  – with a microSD card on board the device is useful though it is unfortunate you cannot connect it to another PC using the microUSB cable, I will work on that hack next. The sound is as tinny as you would expect form a netbook. At 1,366×768 it is far from the quality of other devices on the market so is average at best. The tablet tested has 64GM onboard storage, 32gb Asus cloud storage as well. The camera is a healthy 8MP/2MP and Bluetooth 4 is on board with WLAN 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 Ghz. It comes in Red, White and Black, though here in Australia it is harder to find anything other than black so far.

Splitting with the Atom– I promised myself I would never own another Atom processor device, however, this one is not as sluggish as previous Atom model devices and actually nippy in cases (video aside). It is the refresh rate of the shared graphics that I think with the I will say average CPU that is the culprit here.  Note: If I understand the Intel blurb the CPU in this ‘new’ device is end of life already.

SummaryThe ASUS ME400C  is a comprise on a grand scale. As the 5th generation of tablets looms,  this is an affordable at $500-600 device. An attractive selling point for one of the 1st Windows 8 Tablets (with the real Windows 8), though, its design feels a bit clunky between the ACER 500 that ran early versions of Android Gingerbread, and the Asus Nexus 7. Far from BAD, but not uber great (our demands our hire than they would have been 12 months ago.

However, this is kind of a compliment in the world of compromises in terms of what has been out there before for Windows OS previously. Weighing in at 580g, it is 12% lighter than the non-LTE version of the iPad4 at 652g, and only 6% heavier than the new nexus 10 at 603g.

However the CPU is way under spec, even an i3 CPU offers a 300% increase overall (per Intel Atom vs the Intel i3 CPU 

Like other devices, you actually need to spend some time with the device, if launched a year ago it would be 8/10, but in today’s market, compared to other devices, it is at best a 5/10.

What else- Making things better – Firstly to run this tablet effectively, you need to do some tweaking  to make it usable  something most consumers will not do. Also if I said to you I was going to sell you a PC with an Atom CPU and you knew what is was historically , you would laugh, cry, run or punch me. This needs a real CPU even an i3. My suggestion is wait for an i5 or i7.

In the modern day, average performance and great battery life, will lose out for many when offered better quality, faster performance  and average battery life.

Another consideration is running you Android apps on the windows 8 device. Bluestacks has brought out a VM that allows you to do just that and is customer made for the Win 8 OS & device.

Even better would be a dual boot Android ICS / Win 8 device running an i5 or i7, offering the best of both worlds (coming soon)

Key Features

  • Intel Atom Z2760 Processor
  • 1.6Ghz Burst to 1.8Ghz Processor Speed
  • LPDDR2 2GB RAM
  • 64GB HDD
  • Power VR SGX545 Graphics
  • 10.1″ IPS with Soda Lime 1366 x 768 Screen Resolution
  • 8MP Rear Camera

Comparable Devices 

Nexus 10 $500 16GB but the best screen out there)
iPad 4 – $539 (16GB vs 64GB (32Usable)

 

 


Update 15.10.2012

Looks like I made a mistake here also / mainly ?  as it was an Asus laptop that was on sale and I got an Acer Aspire. The situation started by me, also confused the sales staff, that did not see my mistake. The issue has now been resolved

Welcome to Pakenham TheGoodGuys

 


21 November 2011

Melbourne, Australia

When OXX Digital a Danish Company introduced their ‘Classic’ Internet Radio, into Australia a true legend was born, with a very appropriate name. A  little ahead of its time, that many did not fully appreciate, very few people were yet streaming their music, knew what DAB+ was and even fewer had a personal NAS (network attached storage). Today there are many NAS devices to choose from and many are using their PC’s or Macs to stream music and podcasts across their homes. The Classic is a radio that few are  yet to fully appreciate. The Classic introduced not only a great looking radio with modern Scandinavian design,  but one with DAB+ the best in radio quality, Combined with Internet Radio (able to access over 10,000 radio stations across the globe), wireless music streaming, and obvious FM Radio. This at a time for finding a DAB radio alone was more expensive than this full featured hi-tech marvel, that still years later has  stood the test of time with few competitors when comparing like for like features, price and design. Time moves on and the classic if it lacked anything was portability. The ability to take a DAB+ radio with you, not requiring a power connection was also lacking in the marketplace.

OXX Digital has addressed this with the OXX Vantage, here they have changed the look for this portable model, added a ruggedized rubber feel on a nice retro looking radio.

The OXX Vantage has the same features as the classic with DAB+ Radio, FM Radio, but as it is portable the WiFi, and Internet Radio is not needed.  The OXX Digital Vantage is a welcome addition to the impressive OXX Digital line up.

I for one cannot wait to see how OXX impresses us next.


 

6 September 2011

Tech-News.TV (coming soon)
Melbourne Australia
by Loren Wiener (@mr_internet)

 

Samsung to Be Eventual Winner

 

 

Whilst Apple fights Samsung across the globe, on tablet patents, many tablet manufacturers like Motorola (Googorola) Toshiba, Acer, Asus, HP, RIM are all hoping to gain some benefit here in Australia.  Samsung will likely win and Motorola lose for a few reasons.

1) Apple patent wins will at best,  just delay the Samsung selling of their tablets. Remember Motorola also has injunctions against them.  It is not likely a totoal coincidence that the patent wars are going on leading up to the announcemnet in the next few days of the iPhone5.

2) Samsung marketing machine, though not great is better than any of the others on the market

3) Previous versions of Samsung tablets have been sold in Australia for some time, they already have a large presence not just in tablets, but mobiles, televisions and home appliances. The product awareness offers a big association for other products like tablets as they are sold at the same retailers as well as carriers.

4) Samsung products have been offered for some time unlocked, offering more choices for consumers to choose their own carrier, this carries over to the tablets.

Motorola To Be Biggest Loser

 

1) Samsung network for selling tablets is much larger than others, more retailers and carriers than Motorola.

2) Other tablet suppliers have strong market associations in the marketplace / market share, Blackberry (RIM)- Mobiles, Toshiba/Asus/Acer/HP (Computers). Though the recent HP position confuses things.

3) Motorola New Relationship with Google with take time to gain momentum. Remember Google is a company that sells advertising. Google is NOT experienced in selling hardware product.

30 September is an important date currently in the patent wars, when it is believe Samsung will be allowed to sell their new tablet  in Australia.


By Loren Wiener

September 2011

Jays t-Jays Three

Sometimes smaller is also better. – Small Price, Big on Quality

 

 

 

 

 

When small head phones became all the rage prior to the launch of the iPod, quality was secondary to size.  The iPod offered their white headphones with average quality that many including myself really did not like, and being in white was personal thing I did not like, offering the unwelcome notice, especially, when they became very common, a small thing but I believe I am not alone there.

Also when others started offering small form factor headphones you could pay a lot of money for looks but not much quality, no low range and very tinny distortion in the upper range, and often many of them did not fit very well, another big deal to manly like me not having the single perfect ear size.  Not being of the younger generation, I like my volume a bit high sometimes, and other

Enter the Jay Three, a small form factor at the middle price range of $70-89  AUD, but with very impressive sound, various size sleeves to fit any ear, gold plated plugs, travel case, Kevlar reinforced, soft cables (a good touch), a little longer cable to prevent those pesky tangles, and even has a flight adapter for those plane rides we love so much. I am not sure how Jays fits so much in such an affordable paid of headphones but it is the reason they are so popular in Australia.

Whether you are in to classical, head banging rock or both these compact headphones do them both justice.  





28 May 2011

Loren | aka @mr_internet | Melbourne Australia  

Is An Android 10.1” Tablet on Your List Before or After Tax Time

I had a friend ask me recently, a simple question in theory. What type of Tablet
PC to get?

I use the word ‘PC’ loosely as these currently aren’t quite replacements for the
Personal Computer for most people at least not yet. I have to admit I
have multiple Android devices as well as Apple and a Windows Home
Server / PC, so offer no bias to a brand.

Well having an  iPad2 already, my thoughts were there initially with Apple, but
having just bought my first Android phone (the Atrix 4G by Motorola) to try it
out before the launch in Australia,  my thought then turned to considering
that perhaps the OS of the phone might make the OS transition (if
there was one) initially easier. In my friends’ case, husband has an
Android and wife and iPhone. I quickly ruled out a Windows Tablet (don’t get me
started there).

With Apple having a single design of iPad2 (barring colour and capacity of course),
it was hard not to make a case for the iPad2 (e.g. I have one and there are
some things it does very well).  Unfortunately for me
the realization that the iPad2 is really running a 5 year old
Operating System

But knowing what is out within the last 4 weeks or will be soon, in the Android
Tablet space I would be remiss had I not mentioned the Android Tablets. I go on
about this as the Android Tablet Space of 10.1″ tablets, is perhaps more
fast pace than Sebastian Vettel is around an F1 Grand Prix race track, with so
many models coming out a review is a bit confusing.

Instead of taking away from the great detail other have offered, I am looking more at a
top level view comparing more the aesthetic pros and cons of various models
compared to each other PHEW

Here are the 4 Android Tablets

  • Acer
    A500 32GB with MicroSD Card, WiFi Only 5x2MP Camera
    (10.1″)
  • Samsung
    Galaxy Tab 10.1G (or GT or GTp7510) 32GB with No MicroSD Card , WiFi Only ,
    3x2MP Camera-
  • Samsung
    Galaxy Tab 10.1V  3G/4G / WiFi Only 16GB no MicroSD Card 8x2MP Camera
  • Motorola
    Xoom  WiFi Only with WiFi Card , 5x2MP Camera 10.1″
  • Apple
    iPad For Size Comparison –  & it is getting  jealous and
    nervous

Part One – Does Size Matter?

Part Two – Tell Me more Pros and Cons

Part Three – Summary

 

 

 


Pre-orders likely by 1 June 2011

Updated: 3 June 2011

Harvey Norman is about to start taking pre-orders for the new Samsung 10.1 Tablet 2 (version 1 in the USA).
No further information is available but the Samsung Australia Website has updated its support  section to include a P7500 16mb  only old non 10.1  information is there currently , but that is good or bad if you are holding out hope if a MicroSD Card, as 16GB unit might hint at an upgradeable memory.

Reviews on thai sites, rusisan sites and some retailers suggest a microsd card is on board also, but other sites suggest it is not.

20 May 2011

by Loren aka @mr_internet

With out much fanfare retail computer shops are discussing exact pre-order dates for the next big thing to hit in computer tablets.

Though there are some unanswered questions, and though it has not been formally announced, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet PC  10.1 version 2,  is about to land in Australia and be sold around a week after it is launched in the USA. The USA has announced a 8 June launch date with Australia launching around the 15th of June. Retailers that will be stocking the device are already considering  pre-orders dates such as June 1.

The new thinner 10.1 is viewed by many as biggest competition yet for the Apple iPad2, and is  one of many new tablets, showing up in all places that sell laptops now. Many of these will be running the more open and very new  Google  Android  Honeycomb Operating System 3.0 that is already getting an update to 3.1.

The Apple iPads run on the Apple iOS operating system that has not changed much in over 4  years, a long time in the marketplace.

The new s10.1 not only resembles the Apple iPad2, it is slightly wider, and lighter as well as being thinner. It is of course also  lighter and thinner  than  it’s only 4 week old predecessor 10.1V that launched in May,  a limited edition model that is being sold exclusively by Vodafone.

The 10.1V also has a better quality camera than the newer, thinner 10.1  (8MP vs 3MP).

The older version 10.1V is being sold to other markets across the globe but  outside the USA only.

Another popular tablet the Motorola Xoom is landing in Australia (exclusive to Telstra initially) the end of May, with the other shops selling the Samsung Galaxy 10.1  just 2 weeks later.

One of the advantage of the new more open Android tablets is that when connected to a PC or a Mac computer it appears like any other external hard drive allowing folders to be set up and files transferred to the devices much easier than the iPad that requires the iTunes interface only. Also new applications purchased for the Android device on a computer  can be downloaded  wirelessly on local networks to multiple Android devices.

The fast pace dynamics of the tablet market is different around the world with Europe and Australia getting the 10.1V but not the US, and the US getting the Motorola Xoom months before the release in Europe or Australia.

This makes the launch of the Samsung 10.1  a global launch only a week earlier in the USA vs Australia (and likely Europe)

The online community was buzzing when 5-6000 Galaxy 10.1 were given out to mostly rave reviews to attendees at the recent Google i/o 2011.

With the USA not seeing or hearing much about the 10.1V many were confused on discovering the 10.1 is viewed as the second generation model but hardware wise is lower quality than the second generation 10.1, but is thinner, bigger and lighter.

Many believe the 10.1V that was not launched in the USA, because when Apple launched the iPad2, Samsung decided to stop production and introduce the thinner version.

Price is believed to be the same as the Motorola Xoom @$840, but it is not clear the exact detail of the 10.1 Model only it is being referred to as Galaxy Tab 10.1 Version 2 in Australia.

Edit:
There was a lot of confusion in the marketplace when Australian buyers of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1V were told tablets were being shipped when they had actually been over sold and back-ordered.

It is still not clear if customers will receive the back-ordered stock before the new 10.1 goes on sale. At the same time customers were unknowinly having their tablets back ordered other stores were getting in stock to sell in the shops,  making matters worse for Vodafone. Customer service were only told the 10.1V  stock was on back order 48 hours later, so only some early orders were assured delivery.

Speaking to a retail buyer for one of the future stockists of the new thinner Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and seeing the orders, it is unclear if stock levels will be adequate.  There appears to be no gag order on this information.


Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie
For Jenny (no comment)
By Loren (aka @mr_internet)

Apple iPad2 vs. Samsung Galaxy 10.1 vs Motorola Xoom vs RIM Blackberry Playbook vs HP TouchPad

I have had a few folks asking me about a Tablet preferences of iPad vs this or that. But it is not that easy. For now as of 12 April 2011, there are 4 tablets worth really considering, and a few more soon.

I made a conscious descion a while ago to avoid the Android Google world. But with new versions out I am being tempted more than ever.

I ditched my iPhone some months ago and I must admit I do miss it often as I have an iPad.

This is relevant as I have not seen a good phone, that plays well with another manufacturer tablet operating system, and having 2 inventories of apps to keep up with is a pain. In this day and age where our pc, mobile phone, and tablet are all part of our lives having them not play well togethermakes life hard.

I realised this when my windows phone 7 phone, did not do much, an idea I kind of liked, but now feel very inhibited.
But the apple iPhones are feeling rather dated as well.

So I have a new Google Motorola ATRIX, arriving soon, the latest mobile not out in Australia yet and an android.
This might mean I also cosider ditching my iPad in favour of an android tablet, we will see.

I hear the Andoid store is a mess as there are so many versions of android, that you cannot tell when you purchase an app if it will work with your device or not. That is silly, I will see in my next review how good or bad the andoid app library is.

The other thing to consider is iTunes. I hate iTunes as much as I love my iPad. But you need it really to manage the iPad.

So It Really is Google vs Apple

Again this is relevant because I think keeping to one platform  for phone and tablet might be the best way to go.

  • If you own an iPhone and plan to keep it, I would stay with iPad.
  • If you are considering seriously getting a tablet other than an iPad (as I am now), then you seriously might want to consider a phone form the same operation system, if you have or are considering an Android phone, you have more choice available on the tablet from but I think the Motorola XOOM is one to watch.

All the tablets have their own merits and flaws, here is a view of all 4.

The Reviews
Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie

Well, it’s finally here. Apple recently launched the anticipated 2nd-generation iPad. With Google’s Android, RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook, and HP’s webOS getting fancy new tablets either recently or in the future, buyers are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a new slate device.

We thought we’d take a closer look at the iPad 2′s four main competitors in the tablet space: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Zoom, HP/Palm’s TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Apple iPad 2

First up we’ve got the new kid on the block, Apple’s iPad 2. Announced by Steve Jobs to be powered by a dual-core CPU that’s supposedly twice as fast as the current iPad. The new graphics chips are ’9x faster’ too. Impressive, at least on paper. In typical Apple fashion, we don’t have actual figures other than the usual dimensions. Thickness? 8.8mm. That’s one third thinner than the current model.

Interestingly, the new iPad 2 features two cameras, one rear and one front facing and the most interesting specification of them all is the availability of the new white iPad. Apple couldn’t get a white iPhone 4 out the door but no such issues with the iPad 2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung showed off its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the new tablet hoping to build on the success of its smaller sibling.

Sporting a new 10.1-inch 1280×800 display (hence the name), the new Tab boasts some impressive specifications. Powering that new screen is a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 CPU with both front and rear facing cameras providing the video input. The Tab’s rear camera is capable of HD video recording and has the now obligatory in-built flash.

Software-wise, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will run the latest and greatest from Google’s Android stable, namely 3.0 Honeycomb.

Motorola Xoom

Another Honeycomb-endowed offering is Motorola’s Xoom. Recently released in the United States, the Xoom has been very well received by the gadget press. Arguably a very similar machine to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – at least spec-wise – the Xoom’s party piece is its LTE capability. The downside here is the wait. Early-adopters will need to send their unit away for a hardware upgrade in order to take advantage of LTE speeds. Fortunately a quick turnaround is promised by Motorola, with 6 days the expected wait.

With the Xoom being powered by Google’s Android OS in its latest Honeycomb guise, there is little to differentiate it from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when it comes to software. The main difference? The Xoom is in stores now!

HP TouchPad

Originally expected to go under the Palm name, the TouchPad will run on a new version of webOS. Now at version 3.0, webOS is promising to be a truly tablet-optimized experience. Even during the Pre’s death-throws, many believed the OS was the phone’s best attribute and a tablet was always the logical home for a future updated version.

HP isn’t scrimping on the hardware front either. A 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core CPU is the heart of the machine, with 1GB of RAM keeping the CPU busy. An iPad-like 9.7-inch 1024×768 screen is used, along with all the usual radios we’ve come to expect, including a 4G one. The TouchPad does sport a front-facing camera, though there’s nothing around the back.

BlackBerry PlayBook

With PlayBook, Research In Motion (RIM) is the fourth major platform (in no particular order) after Android, iOS and webOS to enter the Tablet Wars. PlayBook features 1Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 1080p HD video playback and HDMI output.

Powered by BlackBerry Tablet OS with UI designed by QNX, RIM’s PlayBook is expected to hit retail shelves in April this year.

Which device you ultimately stump up for very much depends what you want from a tablet device. Apple’s iPad 2 has the massive advantage of being tied into the largest App Store on the planet, though many would also consider that to be its biggest weakness. If you’re the tinkering type, and prefer the more gritty approach of Android then the Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be right up your street. The Android Market is constantly growing though the quality of apps perhaps isn’t quite there just yet, and Honeycomb promises a new raft of software specifically designed for tablets. HP’s offering is a real unknown at this point. A new OS, with new hardware from a company that hasn’t done well with mobile devices in the recent-past could prove disastrous though we doubt it. What we’ve already seen of the TouchPad looks mighty impressive, and the thought of webOS on a 9.7-inch screen excites us. Same goes for RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook. Will there be enough apps for HP’s new tablet or RIM’s PlayBook? That’s the real question.

Ultimately the decision as to which tablet is right for you is a personal one. Many will plump for the safety and security of iOS while others want the power of Android. A few will even want to take a chance on the TouchPad or PlayBook, and who could blame them? We’re not sure where our money will be going, but today’s iPad 2 announcement sure makes for an interesting few months ahead.

Is 2011 the year of the tablet? You betcha!


Buyers Beware, a warranty is not all it seems.

Like a lot of self- proclaimed ‘technology evangelists’, I buy a considerable amount of computer hardware. Some of this is for work, some on behalf of colleagues, friends and some (or most) for self-gratification.  Also some is loaned for testing by the manufacturers and returned or purchased.

  • However I have never bumped into a unit that failed where the warranty the unit is covered under is so blatantly miss represented (and by such a normally great company with great customer service).
  • So is the case with Netgear and my Netgear Stora . I recently bumped into a hardware issue, where the device would not allow on a regular basis local files to be dragged and dropped to the hardware (no software involved). The error can easily be duplicated.
  • I thought I would do the proper geek thing and update all software and firmware to make sure problem experienced was not easily fixed myself. Unfortunately, on attempting to update the firmware, I then received an error message saying the software could not be updated.
  • On calling Netgear technical support (for the first time for the device), I was told that my ‘software’ warranty had expired and was directed to ‘their other department’ but they could help me on the hardware and software.

Note: On the Netgear Stora there is a software element that allows various users to be granted various access levels via the cloud, and there are other apps and features as well.

  • In my case the software was not needed to drag and drop files as it sees the Stora as just another hard drive (part of the charm of this device).
  • On calling the ‘other department’ the call immediately went to on hold music, with no mention of anything (no thanks for waiting, nothing) on answering the phone, I was greeted with thank you for holding do you have a reference number (given by the other department), which I did. A few moments later I was greeted with I believe you have a software problem.
  • I then corrected the technician saying I have a hardware problem for sure but maybe a software problem as well, but did not need the software for the hardware problem to exist. The hardware problem being the problem that I could not correct by updating firmware. I was then reminded that my warranty for software had expired after 90 days but they were happy to help.
  • This help involved no hardware diagnostics (I have a 3 year hardware warranty remember), but instead they would help with the software first to see if solved the problem before they could agree for me to send back the hardware. Unfortunately this support would cost me $136.. ouch. A new Stora currently costs $141 at good suppliers like Harris Technology. So if it did turn out to be hardware then I would be out of pocket anyhow.
  • I then queried if it was not software but was indeed hardware, would they credit me the $136 for diagnosing a problem that was covered under warranty. Again I was told no.
  • This amazed me as I recently had a bad modem and Netgear offered to swap it out after a few minutes diagnostic. Now there was no diagnostic just a charge for $136 to then confirm it was hardware (and covered).
  • It then turns out this ‘other department’ is a 3rd party supplier to Netgear called Gearhead and they of course are selling customer service and had nothing to do ownership wise with Netgear.
  • I queried why I needed software support for the hardware only aspect of my problem and they insisted they needed to follow process which was ‘software first’. On complaining that the only way I could exercise my 3 year warranty for hardware was to pay for software support, I was directed back to Netgear that again told me they offer no in house support for the Stora at all.

Amazing ..

  • Netgear really was ahead of the curve on the Stora , there was nothing like it for ease of use and value. The closest alternative was other Netgear products. Times have changed; I have referred dozens of folks to Netgear that I am aware of, (likely more) but will likely be looking to for alternatives in the future as there are many more now than a few months ago and the list is growing almost daily.
  • Note: When sked to speak to a supervisor at Netgear or for a complaint procedure in both cases none was offered, again I am very surprised and disappointed by this. Netgear deferred me to Gearhead that had already deferred me back to Netgear.. etc.
  • Further checking online shows the 3 year warranty is still being offered but no clear definitions or terms and conditions could easily be found that covered any devices.
  • I still believe that the device is a great device (call me a fanboy) but to charge exactly 100% of the cost of the device to diagnose the warranty is just wrong. Netgear should just do away with the warranty.


Updated 13 December 2012

Here is the link to this ignore the rest  

http://goo.gl/plG8L

 

Windows 8 on a little older Quadcore PC also kills the power output on the USB 2.0 Port. This software fixes it regardless of motherboard

Let me know if it worked for you also

Mr Internet
tech-news.tv

Updated 14 January 2011

This proved to be a popular blog when I ran it 8 months ago. It addressed a new driver from motherboard manufacturer gigabyte, that allowed you to charge you iPad on your PC (not something possible before). This updated free driver, also allows you to charge other devices that worked before even faster and this update adds a few updates to all of that, and it makes that pesky ‘this device is not charging nag screen go away.

By pure coincidence, I went to reinstall this driver and found an update released today ok I am a bit psychic (& psychotic) , but the driver solves some other problems as well such as clearing your USB trash, caused when you remove USB devices all the time. Here is the link, it goes to Chinese first but should offer to translate to your native language depending on your browser. You are looking for on/off charger driver but here it is

Installation Update
I note on download and installation it is a bit different than the original driver .
it took 1 minute to download, extract and install.

  • The driver is 1.61 mb (very small takes a few seconds to download)
  • It is a compressed exe file so you will need to extract it to a folder on your desktop etc.
  • When extracted, it creates 1 folder called ‘on/off charge’ and creates 2 files inside setup.exe and setup.iss
  • Run the set-up, reboot your pc and you are done

How to Tell it is Working

  • When you installed the driver it would have asked you to re-boot your PC if properly installed.
  • It is very discreet there are no whistles, or bells.
  • If you have an iPad you would notice on the iPad it would have said it was not charging before now it is charging
  • If you start to re-run the set-up.exe it will ask you if you want to modify or reinstall the software.
  • It is a driver so there is no anti-virus software issues
  • Anything more technical speak to gigabyte, I am just a blogger not the manufacturer
  • If in a corporate environment consider speaking to your system administrator, he might enjoy using this across the company it is pretty sweet.
  • Tell your freinds
  • Enjoy

Motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte are Gods.
They have introduced a tweakdown-loadable  , that allows iPads to now be charged from PC’s and laptops, via the USB port . An issue many were not aware they had and plague others that were aware of this.
I will use gigabyte motherboards for ever more because of this, it is a BIG deal.

On the site is a list of the motherboards it works for but mine is older and it worked just fine.
The additional upside is it charges iPhones and iPods faster as well.
Update

Judging by the coverage of this page Gigabyte was getting slammed so moved the link of the driver (nice). I have updated it.Worth noting that though this driver is specfic to gigabyte, I have heard from dozens of folks it works on motherboards other than gigabyte.

Happy for you to share the story please be nice and give a shout out to news-knut/mrinternet  when you do. Mac bloggers (you know who you are)

Sony Announces 3D TV Pricing

Posted: April 6, 2010 in 3D TV, Hardware, IPTV

As expected sony has announced their new line up of sets already and 3D sets are in the line up, but pricing has been vague until now

See the full story on Engadget here


Now to ‘ Un-confusify’ it all.

Covertly arriving in July 2009, the new standard in Radio is now here in Australia along
with loads of hardware (radios) to choose from.

And believe me it is confusing.

oxx

The OXX Digital DAB+ Radio (Classic) offers the best value and list of quality features, and style.

To those in the know, (many UK ex-pats, audiophiles and geeks) this is a BIG deal.

Australia was an early tester of DAB radio but failed to agree the standard for
some time. By the time the standard was agreed the technology had moved on and Australia
opted for the newer better quality standard.

The bad news for some early adopters is that the old standard and new standard uses different radios  for the 12 months testing period. This means some folks in Australia outlaid as much as $2000 for hardware that is now useless as all of the old stations have been turned off.

For the smart ones that had never heard of DAB Radio or waited, the good news is there is plethora of new hardware landing all over Australia and a slew of new DAB+ radio stations waiting for you to tune in.

What is the difference between DAB+ and DAB

Simply the old DAB radio dates back to the 1980’s and remains virtually unchanged to this day. In 2003 better quality DAB+ Radio started to emerge offering quality twice as good or better.  The DAB system uses MP2 Audio Codecs and the DAB+ uses mainly the AAC format.

Now What?

Well this is the good news. Hardware (radio) suppliers have had a good 2 years to ramp up supplies, and distribution for the new radios. Additionally other technology has come into being in the radio world that creates the confusion, but the best opportunities as well for the consumer.  This includes IP (Internet Radio), Pod casting, Streaming, iPOD/iPhones , as well as the normal FM and new
DAB+ stations as well all becoming part of the crowed radio market at can offer  a different radio for every use as well as Mobile (car) Stereos.  The different radios other than the traditional am/fm are:

DAB+

– The new driving force for the convergence of technologies, offers CD quality sound via radiostations. As mentioned there new stations coming on line everyday offering high quality News, Music, Sports and more 24/7.  The screens on radios offer the music track names, artists, station information and more.

WIFI- IP (Internet Radio)

Amazing in its own right, this kicked off in the 1990’s and offersa choice of 11,000 plus stations from all around the world. Amazingly stations can be selected by country, genre and even sometimes (NOT ALWAYS) by individual stations down to its Internet URL.  It uses your own Internet connection (works only if you have WIFI or a wired Ethernet connection)

WIFI Streaming
Having your internet around the house means you can now stream from your PC to some radios, or via the wired Ethernet connection mentioned above.

iPod /iPhone- Adding your on iPod to a radio, is easy now with a docking station added to the top of
many radios.

Consumer Choice  –
The good news for the consumer is you longer have to go to specialist stores to find DAB+ radios, instead you can pop down to your favorite retailer and some (like Harvey Norman) have done a good job of stocking their stores but as of August 2009, training is not good and no one seems to know the difference in quality or features, and in the case of Harvey Norman even have DAB+ radios in 2 different departments (being they are different franchises in the store) but the selection makes them a good contender as the best. Also many DAB+ radios can be purchased online for a bit of a saving, I still prefer when possible to handle the merchandise, even if I purchase it online afterwards. Again to date online costs do not seem to be less than Harvey Norman, so bear that in mind.

Which brand of Radio? –
With as many as 50 radios on the market it can be a bit of a
minefield and the purpose of this article.

Misc
There a plethora of suppliers already from Bush, Sangaen, Grundig but the main ones are below.

Pure
When I was testing the old DAB radio standards. Pure were the only real quality players out
there and I am pleased to say they seem to be the leaders in offering choices in mostly DAB+ only radios here in Australia in every shape and size and around 20 models to choose from .  I find the
quality of their lower priced units (around $300) not good quality. Their better units (like the evoke 2-s ) are $600+ and again way overpriced I think for the marketplace). Unfortunately I believe they have missed the boat a bit and do not seem to be making the best of all the other technologies mentioned above.
Pros–  Good selection with over 20 radios to choose, from now easy to find and price points from $200.
Cons- Not a big fan of the styles they offer and low on features, overpriced at mid-high  end. Entry level models feel cheap.

Roberts Radios
An institution in Radios for 75 years globally makes outstanding radios in all shapes
and sizes  but again I feel are a bit overpriced in the marketplace.
Pros– good quality, high end radios
Cons– not kept with the times low on
features except the more expensive models, overpriced.

OXX Digital-
Based in Sydney they are  a Danish company not a name you would know
but I believe make the best DAB+ radio on the market, not  just on features  but  thebest value as well. Only the Roberts radio (at $500-800), offers the featuresof the OXX   –   http://oxxdigital.com, with DAB+/FM/Internet Radio (all  11,000) stations /streaming/and more.
Pros– great looking, perhaps in a league of their own, great value for money. Best feature is the favorite’s button that has UK BBC stations pre-programmed in the Internet Radio mode.
Cons– none to mention really, they have not truly launched with a bang yet, so not a huge selection to choose from but with these features who cares, you might find yourself getting more than
one.

More Technical info is available here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting


 Access Music Files or Folders as they are on your

Iphone (or Touch)

Copy and Pate Pictures to your Iphone ( a 1st)
Copy off your device
Play your iPhone music in windows media player
Much More

Use your Iphone or Touch as a USB Stick

Use your Iphone or Touch as a USB Stick

 

 

iphone as a usb drive

iphone as a usb drive

 

Well the best app for the iPhone is not an iPhone app at all. This proggy not only allows use to easily use your iPhone as a USB stick but use windows media player to play your (now easily seen) files from your iPhone or iPod. As it is seen as an external hard drive, streaming is easier, and I even plugged it in to my xbox 360. Free trial or $30

read more | digg story