Subject: General Tech | May 20, 2013 - 03:42 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google voice, google talk, google hangouts, google
One of the neat features of the chat application built into the Gmail web interface is the ability to receive and place phone calls to and from your Google Voice number. And unlike the Google Voice interface, calls placed using the Gmail Talk chat widget are completely free.
Unfortunately, the new Hangouts replacement (currently not mandatory) brought over from Google + does not support the calling features of Google Talk. As such, users wanting to call phones and not just video chat with other Google + users will need to stick with the old Google Talk chat or use Google Voice and pay for outbound calls.
The good news is that the phone call features will be rolled into the new Hangouts feature eventually. According to Google employee Nikhyl Singhal, “outbound/inbound calls will soon be available.” He also indicated that future versions of Hangouts will further integrate the feature set of Google Voice (which likely refers to SMS). Unless you particularly want video chatting, I would recommend sticking with Google Talk until the new version of Hangouts is more fleshed out.
Subject: Mobile | April 10, 2013 - 10:45 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google play, google, froyo, appstore, Android
Google has begun a worldwide rollout of its re-designed Google Play store for Android smartphones and tablets. Over the next few weeks, users will be presented with a new, and simplified, user interface for the Play store.
Mobile devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above will recieve the update. The redesign has moved to a simpler layout that groups similar content together and uses larger images to draw in the user's attention. A continuous scroll feature will introduce recommendations for related content as you scroll down.
Google has also reportedly simplified the checkout process, in order to reduce the time between buying an app, purchasing an MP3, or renting a movie and actually being able to begin consuming the content.
From Google's blog post and what little screenshots they have shown off of the new layout, I think Google has made some positive changes here, but I'll reserve final judgement once I've been able to test it out for myself.
Has your Android device received the Play store update yet?
Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2013 - 07:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pavilion 14, hp, google, Chromebook
HP recently launched the Pavilion 14 Chromebok, which is a notebook running Google’s Chrome OS operating system and suite of web applications. The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is a 14” laptop measuring 0.83-inches thick and weighing 3.96 pounds.
The new Chromebook is based on one of HP’s existing Windows laptops–the Sleekbook 14-b010us. It features a 14” screen with a resolution of 1366x768, full qwerty keyboard and track pad, and a webcam.
External IO includes:
- 3 x USB 2.0
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Ethernet (10/100)
- 1 x Card reader
- 1 x Headphone jack
The system is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron 847 clocked at 1.1 GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB solid state drive (SSD). Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 radios are included, but unlike other Chromebooks there is no cellular connectivity out of the box. Further, Google is providing 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for free (for two years). HP estimates system battery life at 4.25 hours.
The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is available now on HP’s website for $329.99. That makes it one of the most expensive Chromebooks on the market. Chrome OS has come a long way, and even includes a minimal desktop. The hardware looks nice, but I would have liked to see a higher resolution display along with cellular modem for the price, however. It will be interesting to see how well the larger 14" form factor sells.
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2012 - 03:47 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, nexus 10, jelly bean, google, android 4.2, Android
Reviews of Google’s latest Nexus 10 tablet are starting to pop up around the web, and the results are a bit mixed -- mostly positive with the price being its saving grace. The display and inclusion of Android 4.2 is nice, but will it dethrone the iPad? It's time to find out!
As a refresher, the Nexus 10 is 10” tablet powered by a dual core ARM Cortex-A15 system on a chip. On the outside, it has a 10.055” touchscreen display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 (300 ppi, 16:10), 5MP rear camera, and a 1.9MP webcam on the front of the tablet.
External IO includes micro USB, micro HDMI, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Internally, the Nexus 10 features a dual core Samsung Exynos 5250 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz, a Mali T604 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. A 9,000 mAh battery is also preset. Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and NFC radios are also included. The new tablet is also running an updated version of Jelly Bean Google has dubbed Android 4.2.
The 16GB model is listed at $399 while the 32GB Nexus 10 is $499. Both models will be available on November 13th.
What do you think of the Nexus 10?
- Nexus 10 review @ Engadget
- Google Nexus 10 review @ ZDNet
- Google Nexus 10 review @ The Verge
- Nexus 10 Review @ Slash Gear
- Nexus 10: Hands-On With Google and Samsung’s iPad Challenger @ Wired
- Hands on: Google Nexus 10 review @ Tech Radar
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2012 - 04:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, google, nexus 7, andriod, jelly bean
While many PC and component manufacturers are having a rough time in 2012, ASUS is not one. Thanks to their wholehearted adoption of Android devices like the Nexus 7 they have seen their income from mobile devices jump from 7% of their revenue to 16%. That total revenue also had significant growth, their profits are 43% higher than this quarter a year ago. That growth rate is very impressive in the current economy and seems to refute many analyst's predictions that we are moving into a post PC market. ASUS also has to thank their Transformer series as the paired tablet and keyboard device is proving quite popular and will be one of the main competitors to Microsoft's new Surface devices. ASUS told The Register they plan to become the second largest seller of tablets and the largest retailer of touch devices.
"Asus to you and me - has pulled a surprise jump in profit out of the bag as its tablets make up for slow PC sales.
The Taiwanese firm reported its largest quarterly profit in more than four years, spurred by its partnership with Google on the Nexus 7 and the enduring popularity of its own-brand snap-on keyboard fondletops."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft sued over Live Tile interface on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 @ The Inquirer
- Inside the Titan Supercomputer: 299K AMD x86 Cores and 18.6K NVIDIA GPUs @ AnandTech
- ARM busts out server-to-superphone superchips @ The Register
- Guru3D Rig of the Month - October 2012
- Team Development at Cost Zero @ Techgage
- TechwareLabs Reviews the Epson WorkForce WF-7520 all-in-one wide format inkjet Printer
- AIDA64 v2.70 is released
- TRENDnet TV-IP672WI Megapixel Wireless Day/Night PTZ IP Camera Review @ NikKTech
- Setting Up Maxis FTTH On The Technicolor TG784n v3 Gateway @ TechARP
- Amped Wireless R20000G High Power Dual Band Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD's Radeon ExtravaLANza Event Coverage @ Hardware Canucks
- Disney buys Lucasfilm, new Star Wars trilogy planned @ The Register
- NETGEAR N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Modem Router (DGND4000) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- The TR Podcast 122: Windows 8, VivoTab RT, and FX-8350
Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2012 - 09:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xe303c12, Samsung, laptop, google, Exynos 5250, Chromebook, chrome os, arm
While Android gets most of the attention, it is not the only operating system from Google. Chrome OS was released two years ago, and despite the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets, it is still very much alive and kicking on the cloud-connected “Chromebooks.”
In fact, earlier this week Samsung announced a brand new Chromebook powered by its own Exynos 5250 ARM System of a Chip (SoC). The new system is lighter than the company’s previous Chromebook offerings at 2.43 pounds and is less than an inch thick. The specifications are not impressive for a laptop, but in the context of a Chromebook where much of the processing is done on Internet-connected servers the internals should ensure that you get good battery life – up to 6.3 hours – out of the mobile machine.
The 11.6” Chromebook has a display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, 1.5W stereo speakers, and a full physical keyboard with trackpad.
External I/O options include:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Headphone/Mic combo jack
- 1 x SD card slot
The USB 3.0 option is interesting, and should allow you to hook up fast external storage should you need more caching space for offline use.
On the outside, the Chromebook very much resembles a standard laptop, but on the inside it is closer to the specifications of a smartphone or tablet. Interestingly, Samsung has chosen its Exynos 5250 system on a chip to power the XE303C12 Chromebook. That processor is packing two Cortex A15-based ARM CPU cores and an ARM Mali T604 GPU. While the Exynos 15 is capable of clocking up to 2GHz, it is unclear whether or not the Chromebook will feature chips clocked at that speed or not. It is certainly a possibility though, since the laptop form factor would provide ample cooling versus a more constrained smartphone or tablet. Beyond the SoC, Samsung has packed in 2GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state drive (SSD). Additionally, the XE303C12 Chromebook includes a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip – useful for business uses – and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio with a 2x2 antenna configuration.
The new Samsung Chromebook is available for pre-order now, and will be officially available for purchase at Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, and other retailers beginning October 22, 2012. It has an MSRP of $249.99.
I’m interested to see how this compared to the Windows RT offerings, and whether the cheaper price will win people over versus those devices. On the other hand, it may be that Android tablets – like the Nexus 7, Nook Tablet, and new Kindle Fire tablets – are the favored devices for all but road warriors needing a decent keyboard. What do you think?
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, win8, surface, google, Android, nexus 7, Samsung, Pegatron
Two companies which for the most part sold software only are making a name for themselves in the hardware sector, in two very different ways. Google's Android has become quite a player and the upcoming release of the Nexus 7 platform is anticipated by many mobile players because Google has no intentions of making its own phones. Instead they will make their money licensing the platform to a variety of established cellphone and tablet manufacturers, as they have in the past. According to what DigiTimes has heard, Microsoft is going in the exact opposite direction with Surface and will be continuing with the same plan as their tablet, which has already caused negative backlash from many of the major player in the market such as Acer. Designers of Microsoft Win8 based phones are required to use the same platform and interface in order to meet the requirements of Microsoft's licensing agreement which will make phones difficult to differentiate as competitors are very limited in the customization they can offer, at least on the software side. To make the market even more confusing, Microsoft is reaching out to Pegatron to manufacture their own branded Surface phone, which will find its self in direct competition with the phones from established players, the ones Microsoft is count on to license the portable version of Win8. It would be hard to come up with another way that Microsoft could make licensing their new OS even less attractive for OEMs and ODMs.
"Google and Microsoft both reportedly plan to extend the Nexus 7 and Surface tablet lineups to include smartphones as a means to further increase the penetration of their own platforms, but the two companies will implement the strategies in a different tune, according to industry sources.
Google aims to launch smartphones based on its Nexus 7 platform in cooperation with a number of smartphone branded vendors with Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications and HTC likely to be potential partners, said the sources.
On the other hand, Microsoft is reportedly tapping ODM maker Pegatron for the production of WP8-based smartphones slated for launch in the first half of 2013, the sources indicated."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How To Make Movies in Linux With OpenShot @ Linux.com
- Refined hack opens locked hotel rooms… with a magic marker @ ExtremeTech
- Home Automation and the 'Internet of Things' @ AnandTech
- ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- Will Elpida be gobbled by a rival or get a multi-billion cash jab? @ The Register
- Red Dwarf Series 10 on Dave @ 9PM BST today
Introduction and Design
Subject: Mobile | August 1, 2012 - 02:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, nexus 7, andriod, jellybean, tablet, tegra 3
By now you may be familiar with the Tegra 3 powered, 1280x800 IPS display Nexus 7, but if you've been away then The Tech Report can fill you in on what you have missed. At 7.8" x 4.7" the resolution is a respectable 216 pixels per inch as well as being of a nice size for both portability and usability. The mini USB port can come in handy in several ways but the one thing it cannot do is offer you external storage for your Nexus 7 which is a bit of a pain considering there is a $50 premium on the 16GB model over the 8GB base. There are some flaws but considering that at $200 it is significantly less expensive than its competitors, there is a lot of good things to say about Google's new tablet.
"For just $199, Google's Nexus 7 tablet serves up a 1280x800 display, a Tegra 3 SoC, and the very latest version of Android. We take a closer look at the budget wonder and break out our high-speed camera to capture Jelly Bean's responsiveness improvements in action."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet @ XSReviews
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review @ Legit Reviews
- First Two Weeks with an ASUS Transformer Tablet @ Techgage
- MSI GT70 0NC 17.3" @ Kitguru
- Samsung Series 9 (NP900X4C) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display @ Techspot
- Toshiba Satellite U845W Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sony VAIO T13 review: Ultrabook according to Sony @ Hardware.info
- GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on Modern Android Smartphones & Tablets @ AnandTech
- GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on iOS and Android Devices @ AnandTech
- Orange San Diego - Intel Inside Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Motorola Atrix HD @ Techspot
Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2012 - 02:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: streaming media, nexus q, google io, google
Google’s Nexus Q was launched at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. The US-assembled streaming media
box sphere was given out to developers and journalists attending the event to play around with, with general consumer availability set for mid-July. The device is quite the feat of engineering, and packs some high-end hardware. Aside from being built in the US, a good portion of the $299 cost comes from the inclusion of a 25 watt amplifier that is reportedly of “audiophile quality.”
The hardware is all well and good, but the software component of the Nexus Q currently leaves a lot to be desired. It is heavily dependent on Google’s Play services. In fact, without hacking the device it can only play media streamed from Google Play’s cloud server.
As a result, many speculated (as did I) that, while an interesting bit of hardware, the lack of support for playing your other media would severely detract from its desirability. The multi-room functionality, group playlists, and amplifier are neat, but the Nexus Q would be worth much more if it could play back media from other sources–especially with a $299 asking price.
According to Wired, Google has taken the feedback to heart. It has announced that it is delaying the launch in order to add new functionality to the device. In an email to those that pre-ordered, the company stated that:
“In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.”
The company has pulled the pre-order option from the Google Play page, but those that have existing pre-orders will still be getting the device. Within the next few weeks, people that pre-ordered will be getting a Nexus Q–and here’s the best part–at no cost (I really wish I would have gone through with that pre-order now hehe). Google has decided to extend the Google Preview program to everyone that pre-ordered the device. As such, people will be getting free Nexus Q devices to play around with.
Unfortunately, Google has not stated exactly what new functionality they will be adding to the final Nexus Q devices. Also, there is no word on exactly when they will start to go on sale again.
As it is packing similar hardware to the Galaxy Nexus, it is capable of running the full Android OS and its related applications. It does seem likely that Google is working on adding the ability to run other Android applications besides the existing Play Music and Play Movies & TV apps. Considering Android already supports VLC, Spotify, Netflix, Remote Potato and other media applications, they would add considerable value to the Nexus Q should Google allow such apps to be installed.