Thursday, 5 July 2012

More Tango Rollouts for Samsung Omnia 7, HTC 7 Pro, and Lumia 800

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the Tango update for your handset, WMPU is reporting that several models of Windows Phones across different carriers are now receiving the update. The Samsung Omnia 7 on Vodafone Germany is ready for update, as well as the HTC 7 Pro on US Cellular here in the United States. Additionally, owners of the Lumia 800 in India should be happy, as the update is rolling out for that model of phone as well.
There’s still no word on when recent devices here in the United States will receive the update, but we’ll keep you updated if and when AT&T begins rollout for its broad range of Windows Phone devices. Personally I’d love to have flip to silence on my Lumia 900. Just sayin’.

Microsoft knew Windows Phone 7 devices were dead on arrival

There’s a lot of drama happening right now in the Windows Phone community about upgrades, specifically the upgrade to 7.8 and 8. Microsoft announced that current handsets will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8, and that upset a lot of people. Nokia Lumia 900 owners feel especially slighted since they fell victim to a huge ad campaign. The question on everyone’s mind is when exactly did Microsoft know WP7 devices were DOA?
The answer to that question is not what people want to hear. In an interview with CNET, Product Manager Greg Sullivan said the following when asked when they knew WP7 was doomed to be replaced.
It was right after Windows Phone 7.  The team that developed the 7.5 release actually was working in parallel with the core team that was already beginning [Windows Phone 8]. In fact some of that work was already initiated before Windows Phone 7 was even available — so this goes back a little bit. It is true that this is a generational shift — that is a rare occurrence, but it’s something we don’t expect to have happen again in the foreseeable future because of the headspace that the new architecture gives us.
So Microsoft, and probably Nokia, knew that while they were pushing the Lumia 900 so hard it was doomed to be left for dead. The unfortunate truth is Microsoft can afford to do this because Windows Phone market share is low. If Android or iOS did this it would be an enormous uproar. Microsoft is in the business to make money, and they weren’t just going to stop selling phones until Windows Phone 8 comes out.
The good news is this won’t be happening again for a very long time. Microsoft has future-proofed WP8 by making it run on a shared core with Windows 8. This means it can scale to ridiculous specs if that’s what the future holds. Be mad for a while, but this move was for the best.

Bing not good enough for you? Get the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica in app form for just $5

Nowadays when we want to learn about something we head for our nearest search engine, then they direct us to somewhere like Wikipedia. Back in the day we relied on real encyclopedias that were written by teams of editors instead of anonymous contributors.
Encyclopaedia Britannica was perhaps the most well known and popular encyclopedia, and now it is entering the modern age with an official Windows Phone app. For $5 you get over 80,000 articles, tens of thousands of rich images, diagrams, and charts. The app also allows users to download articles for viewing offline.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica is a fortune of information for only $5. Buying the app will get you a 1 year of unlimited access. Download it now and start learning!

Bill Gates says Surface tablets won’t affect OEM partnerships

When Microsoft unveiled the Surface tablets we wondered what OEMs were thinking. It’s always interesting when a software company decides to make it’s own hardware because then they become a competitor with the hardware partners they usually rely on. Bill Gates has been quiet about Surface, but last night he went on Charlie Rose and had a few things to say about the situation.
I actually believe you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a rich eco-system of manufacturers and you can have a few signature devices that show off, wow, what’s the difference between a tablet and a PC?
We happen to agree with Gates on this one. Surface will not do significant harm to their partners like Asus, Samsung, and HP, but that’s not their goal. Surface, and other Microsoft-made devices, are there to show the partners what they should be doing with the software. Gates’ view is that the PC as we know it will become devices like Surface.
You can get everything you like about a tablet, everything you like a PC, all in one device. That should change the way people look at things.
Microsoft can’t always rely on partners to understand what they intend the software to do.

Microsoft Executive Thinks Budget WP8 Phones are a Possibility

With the focus on Windows Phone 7 handsets being the budget market, many users have wondered if we’ll see the same cost-conscious effort from Microsoft with Windows Phone 8 devices, which ship with much beefier hardware than the 256MB of RAM some Tango devices received. Senior product manager Greg Sullivan seems to think budget devices are still in the cards for Windows Phone 8:
“I would argue those are not mutually exclusive strategies and that is in fact is our approach. We will continue to support the current platform with the 256MB footprint in devices like the Lumia 610. And one of the points about the new architecture is that it will scale both up and down,” and then added, ‘In fact, having support for removable SD storage will enable OEMs to build devices with less storage initially that is user expandable, so the bill of materials is potentially even lower for the handsets.”
Sullivan goes even further to try and address the issue of the limited Windows Phone 7.8 update for current consumers, most likely to assuage concerns that Microsoft has left us in the dust:
“We’ve really tried to do the right thing for all audiences and that means making Windows Phone 8 the best possible release we can. Therefore we targeted the latest generation of hardware by building what are effectively primarily hardware-dependent capabilities that we achieve with this new [shared] core. ‘It made more sense to focus on making Windows Phone 8 as good as we possibly could, fully exploiting this new generation of hardware.”
Of course no one wants to see Apollo phones being limited by hardware from previous versions of Windows Phone, so this initiative does make sense, despite how angry current consumers are about buying into an already dead platform. Despite this, it may be that Windows Phone 8 devices are priced even more competitively than Android devices once they’re available this fall.

Photo Genius by Aviary snaps into the Marketplace

Putting filters on photos is all the rage these days thanks in large part to Instagram. We’ve got several options on Windows Phone for adding that extra bit of style to your photos, but the newest addition is Photo Genius by Aviary.
Aviary is a company that released their photo tools SDK a few weeks ago, and several apps already use their photo editing tools. Now they’ve taken it upon themselves to create a standalone version.
This app is all about photo effects and nothing else. Besides filters, you also can use auto-fix, and adjust a plethora of settings like brightness, contrast, cropping, and more. We took Photo Genius for a quick test run and we were impressed by the tools, but not by the slow loading times. Overall it’s a great app for the photo buff.
Marketplace (Free)

Bejeweled LIVE is the Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week

One of my earliest memories of begging my mother for my own computer was that she spent too much time hogging the family computer playing Bejeweled on MSN Games. The Internet has come a long way since those screechy days of dial-up and so has Bejeweled. If you’re a fan of PopCap’s famous match three game, then you’re in luck because this week it’s on sale for $2.99 versus the former $4.99.
It should be noted that this is the classic style Bejeweled and doesn’t include any of that new-fangled blitz I hear everyone talking about. Aside from that, it has 20 achievements for you to pound out for your Xbox LIVE score, since we’re all aware that’s totally a measure of how much you rock as a human being. Still, it’s a worthy title to pass some time while you sit in the doctors office, or wait for your mom to stop playing Bejeweled on Facebook so you can use the computer. Ahem.

How Google Could Top RIM In The Mobile Enterprise Market

The Android platform continues to thrive with over 1 million activations per day, making it the most popular mobile OS in the world. There are certain markets the little green robot is not reaching quite yet, though. Enterprise users still put their trust in other platforms, mainly BlackBerry. Android is great for the general consumer and entertainment, but it is not the best option for companies and corporations – something Google is hoping to change very soon.
We uncovered a recent Google trademark filing for the phrase “Play Means Business,” a trademark that we were hoping to be related to a better enterprise solution. This ended up being nothing but an advertising stunt for YouTube, but the idea made us consider the fact that the topic deserves attention.
There have been rumors of RIM potentially licensing its software, such options seem to have been turned down after Thorsten Heins took the CEO chair at RIM’s HQ. Android manufacturers are also making an effort by releasing their own enterprise solutions,Samsung being one of the most notable. What Android needs is a solid and universal solution, though. Not one that is limited by brands and exclusivity, but a service that would be embedded into Android’s core.
Bringing the next best solution for Enterprise isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. RIM built its reputation over many years of work, focusing mainly on BlackBerry’s potential in the business department, something Google and its competitors have found difficult to counter. What will it take for our little green robot to look its best wearing a business suit?

Better Software Security

Due to its popularity, Android is the most targeted mobile platform. Malware and virus developers love having that large amount of potential targets. Most would argue that Android is safe for smartphone users exhibiting caution, but businesses don’t want a single mistake. Especially when delicate information is at hand.
With that said, Android has been known to have its security faults. This has been greatly improved, especially since the inclusion of Bouncer. But there are still some kinks to get worked out.
There is much more to security aside from encryption, passwords, and PIN numbers. Google would need to add (or remove) some features embedded in Android’s core. For example, a company would probably not want give its workers the ability to side-load apps. Another discrepancy would be the fact that one can root a device, endangering it even more. Unfortunately, a knowledgeable user can always root a device, but a notification system for tampered devices could offset this fear.
Enterprise customers would also need to keep their devices much more secured. A good password or PIN for unlocking the device and accessing certain apps is necessary.


Given the fact that Android’s “openness” makes it a potentially dangerous software, encryption is a must for Enterprise customers. This would give Android a second security wall protecting information from intruders.
Google hasn’t worked too much on this just yet but recent acquisitions prove that the company is headed in the right direction. Two years ago, Google purchased Widevine, a company dedicated to media encryption. Just a few short days ago, we uncovered that Google filed a trademark for the WideVine brand name, illustrating continued dedication to integrate Widevine’s assets.
All signs point to this being an effort to protect multimedia (movies, music and other Google Play products). But it seems like future Google Enterprise projects could also benefit from this new acquisition.

Better Hardware Protection

Software security is important, but protecting the physical device is optimal for a company’s security. It is a fact that users are much more affected by lost devices than by hacker infiltration. Those that have experienced losing a smartphone can attest to the fact that it is one of the most stressful situations one can be under. This pain would be greatly multiplied if not only was your information at risk, but your job’s as well.
As of now, there is no official way to protect Android devices against theft and loss. One needs to rely on third-party apps like Lookout, Avast and Find My Phone. While these can be very reliable, it would bring more comfort to enterprise users if it came handcuffed to the device itself.
The ability to lock a BlackBerry remotely has been one of the most enticing features for Enterprise security. If a device is lost, the company can easily block the the smartphone and secure its information. It would take a good amount of work from Google to replicate this, but such features could determine the outcome and success of the project.

Enterprise-friendly Support from the Google Play Store

With such a large portfolio of apps and content in the Play Store, there is no doubt there are some great tools enterprise users have not taken advantage of yet. Could Google be preparing branded versions of the store for business users? Or maybe a special section for secure, enterprise-ready apps and services?
In order to simplify the businessman’s experience, Google could offer a featured page for companies, much like they do for carriers. For example, Verizon users have a section in the Play Store that lists Big Red’s recommended apps. Other manufacturers have also taken advantage of this in the past. Much like this, Google can offer a portal in the Google Play Store that would display an array of company-curated applications that would be necessary for carrying out the worker’s responsibilities.
Google could also allow apps to be mass-purchased by the company. As of now, multiple users need separate payment methods for purchasing applications. In a better world, those that enter the Google Play Store under a company-approved e-mail would be able to purchase certain apps under a set company’s credit card. This would be able to be managed remotely by administrators, and it could be limited as seen fit.

What else can you think of?

Of course, there is a world of enterprise communications options. Most of which many of us have never experienced. We could add push notification for chat messages, read/unread messages (like BBM), document sharing/collaborating and more. The list could go on forever, but we would like to know what you think Google could do to beat competitors like RIM in supporting businesses with an enterprise focused experience.
Would you like to see any other features/modifications in Play Means Business? Let us know in the comments!

Sprint’s Nexus S 4G back on Google’s list of AOSP supported devices

How about that? After removing CDMA devices including the Nexus S 4G from the list of those officially supported as AOSP developer handsets, Google has reinstated the phone amongst its GSM brethren. Whatever issues existed with the Sprint device, they have now been resolved, and Google is releasing binaries with official support for CDMA and WiMAX.
Posed with a questions about whether or not Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus would receive the same treatment, AOSP guru Jean-Baptiste Queru said there are still plenty of issues to resolve with the “toro” build of Android that start with rights to distribute for CDMA/LTE and continue to other technical issues revolving around the phone’s hardware and software. Still, the support for the Nexus S 4G bodes well for the future of CDMA devices in terms of AOSP support.

Dead Trigger From Madfinger Games Is Now Officially Available In The Google Play Store For $1

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, folks. Get your thumbs ready because Dead Trigger from Madfinger Games is now officially available for Android. The same guys that brought you Shadowgun and Samurai II: Vengeance — Dead Trigger drops players into a post-apocalyptic world where zombies are running amok. Lucky for you, heavy weaponry is plentiful and you can blast your way through 40 hours of gameplay, leaving behind a trail of dead, zombified carcasses in your wake.
Originally scheduled to launch yesterday, Madfinger Games experienced a few, last minute technical problems which delayed the games release, but have all since been taken care of. As a “thank you for waiting gift,” Madfinger is giving Android users access to a few new features, not yet available on its iOS counterpart (but coming soon in an update). Booyah, suckas! (Haven’t said that since 4th grade). So, which features, tweaks, and enhancements do Android users get to claim firsties to? Let’s take a look:
New Features
  • IronSight
  • Hard difficulty missions
Bug Fixing
  • Player can move while using grenades, etc
  • Bank will not disappear
  • Money Booster is working now
  • Spawn blood particles, even when zombie is dying or is dead
  • Fixes minor issues in Contests
  • Removed some debug logs
  • Fixed stutter when enemies use obstacles for first time
  • Various fixes in the missions, graphics
  • Cost of some weapons are lowered
  • Higher chance for contest spawning
  • Running zombies will start spawn sooner
  • Improved injury animations
Alright, my juices are already flowing and I’m ready to start scoring some head shots. The best part about Dead Trigger? Madfinger has generously included the game as part of their 99 cent app sale. No telling how long this will last so you’d better hurry. Expect a full review/hands-on a little later today. Have fun, and happy 4th of July!

Samsung announces Galaxy Chat messaging phone for release this month

Remember the Samsung GT-B5330 that popped up earlier this week? Samsung has made the device official with the announcement of the Galaxy Chat. The Galaxy Chat, as you might expect for a phone focused on messaging, is on the lower tier of Android 4.0 devices and features a 3.0-inch QVGA display, 4GB of internal storage (plus microSD expandability), and a 2MP camera. On the plus side, the phone does feature many of the user interface improvements found in the recently released Galaxy S3. As the name implies, Samsung is pushing their ChatON service with the Galaxy Chat, and the phone comes preloaded with the messaging software.
The Samsung Galaxy Chat will be available in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia later this month. Pricing was not announced but it is said to be “competitive.” Based on the specs, we don’t expect interested parties will have to throw down beaucoup bucks.
[via Samsung]

Motorola Atrix HD sign-up page appears, LTE handset headed to AT&T

AT&T hasn’t made any official statement on the matter, but Motorola has let the cat out of the bag on the next member of the carrier’s Atrix series of phones. A sign-up page has gone live on Moto’s site for the Atrix HD, a phone we have known up to this point by its codename, Dinara. The page gives us all the info we need on the device, detailing  its 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 4.5-inch 720p display, and 8MP camera. LTE support is confirmed and furthermore we learn that the phone will carry 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
As mentioned before, we haven’t heard anything from AT&T on the matter, but chances are we could be getting an official announcement soon. Motorola has yet to pull the Atrix HD from their site, which suggests posting its information was no accident at all.

UK judge rules Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent not valid in HTC case

One of the patents that forced a ban of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the United States has been deemed invalid in a UK courtroom, but don’t expect the overseas decision to make any difference when it comes to lifting said ban. In a separate legal tiff between Apple and HTC, Judge Christopher Floyd ruled that three of the four patents the Taiwanese manufacturer is accused of infringing upon are not even legally valid. In the case of the fourth, valid patent, it was found that HTC was not guilty of committing any intellectual property crimes.
Among the three invalid patents was the infamous claim to the slide-to-unlock feature found on most Android smartphones, one of the US patents that Apple leveraged against Samsung in recent proceedings concerning the Galaxy Nexus. The decisions of the UK courtroom will have no bearing on the current state of affairs in the US, but may offer a bit of ammunition on the Google side of things for manufacturers faced with defending slide-to-unlock functionality in the future.
[via Bloomberg]

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE now available from Verizon for $149

It came a bit later than expected, but today is the day for future owners of the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. The latest addition to the Incredible family is now available online and in stores from Verizon for $149.99 on a new, two-year contract (a $50 discount or rebate applies). As its name states clearly, this is the first Droid Incredible to sport LTE connectivity, and it also carries the speedy dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset. The Droid Incredible 4G LTE gets all the trappings of an Android 4.0/HTC Sense 4 device, including Beats Audio and ImageSense. We’ll have a full review headed your way shortly.

New report puts updated Kindle Fire launch in August

With Google’s Nexus 7 already on sale and slated to start shipping later this month, the low-cost 7-inch tablet market just got a bit more competitive. Google’s tablet was designed in part as a response to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and it has long been assumed we would see an updated version of the online retailer’s slate sometime this year. Initial rumors put its launch towards the end of this month, but a new report from China Times says we can now expect an updated Kindle Fire in early August.
The report comes by way of component suppliers and manufacturers responsible for assembling the new device, and says Amazon has placed an order for 2 million units. Little is known about how Amazon plans to upgrade the Kindle Fire, but if the tablet is to remain competitive with Google’s new offering we can expect a higher resolution display and beefed up internal hardware, which could include a faster processor. It looks unlikely that Amazon will unveil 8.9-inch or 10-inch Kindle Fire devices at the same time, but at least one of the two larger sizes is expect to arrive at a future date.

Jelly Bean arrives for Galaxy S GT-I9000, still needs a lot of work though

The good folks over at XDA Developers have managed to port Jelly Bean to the Samsung Galaxy S GT-I9000, which still remains a hot favourite in the developer community. The custom ROM was created by Team Android Jelly Bean (TAJB), which consists of developers and enthusiasts like MKalter, Capez and ali1276. This is still a very early build and many of the functions are still not working, but the point is, it’s happening and very soon we should be getting a stable Jelly Bean ROM. If you have a Galaxy S lying around and want to try it, then you can find all the download links right here. We wouldn’t recommend using this on your primary phone, since a lot of features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Calls, etc. are still not functional. Features that do work just fine are the touchscreen, GPU, softkeys/hardkeys, Butter, ADB, USB, Internal and external SD card and the camera. The instructions are pretty straightforward – dump the ROM in the root of the internal memory, boot into CWM, wipe everything and flash the ROM.
Jelly Bean comes to the Galaxy S!
Jelly Bean comes to the Galaxy S!

Jelly Bean will be coming to Nexus S, sometime in mid-July and since the Galaxy S and the Nexus S are very similar, it was only a matter of time before someone ported it over. For those who aren’t aware, Jelly Bean is Google’s latest version of Android that was demoed on their Nexus 7 tablet. The update will first be seeded to Google’s Nexus devices like the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus. Google states that Jelly Bean builds on top of Ice Cream Sandwich. This new OS makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid. Notifications are now more dynamic, allowing you to access and interact with the alert from the drop down menu itself, without ever having to open the app. Another interesting feature is that voice typing is now faster, working even when one does not have a data connection. Google also states that they have redesigned search from the ground up in Jelly Bean, with a new user interface and faster, more natural Voice Search. They go on to state that one can type their query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back, delivering a precise answer, powered by the Knowledge Graph, if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results. 


Here is a quick look at some of the highlighted features of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean:

  • Project Butter: Just as the name suggests, this feature aims to make the operating system on devices extremely smooth. As per a report by TechCrunch, they explain this feature by saying, “The Android team did so by bumping up Jelly Bean’s framerate to 60 FPS, and implemented vsync and triple buffering to tighten up the experience. Developers also have access to a new tool called systrace in the Jelly Bean SDK that displays what the rendering engine is up to.” At the Google I/O conference, Google showed off the difference in speed between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean and the former pales in comparison.

  • Text Input: As mentioned earlier, with Jelly Bean, the keyboard is a lot faster and more accurate. The report by TechCrunch goes on to state, “Text input has also been improved, especially with regard to voice typing – users no longer need to have a solid network connection to make the feature work, as the speech interpretor lives directly on the device. The predictive keyboard is also able to guess at which word you intend to type out next. Only U.S. English will be supported for now. Arabic and Hebrew support has been improved as well, and they’re looking to add 18 new input languages.”

  • Camera: Google have not left out the camera as well with the update and commenting on this a report by GSMArena states, “Jelly Bean brings new UI and gestures, so you can swipe sideways to access the gallery (yes, just like on the WP smartphones). You can then quickly delete images by swiping them off the screen.”

  • Notifications: With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the notifications bar has also received an upgrade and elaborating on this point a report by CNET states, “Jelly Bean though will push things further, supporting notifications that will allow complex actions and more ways to interact with alerts. For example, you'll be able to tap a missed call message and have the option to ring the caller back. Developers will also have the flexibility to craft custom notifications for their apps.

  • Android Beam: With Android Beam, one can now share videos via NFC, along with the ability to pair a Bluetooth device with NFC capabilities by merely tapping it.

Performance gap between the Wii U and next gen consoles to be thinner, Nintendo

Nintendo is the only company so far to have unveiled its next generation console, dubbed the Wii U. With it, Nintendo promises that the Wii U won’t miss out on multiplatform games, because the hardware will be much closer to what Sony and Microsoft will have to offer.

"We have not successfully kept the momentum of the Wii for about the last two years because third-party publishers have released a smaller number of game titles and Nintendo has also decreased new games for the platform in preparation for the launch of the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U," said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, at an annual meeting with shareholders.
Dual screens, double the fun?
Dual screens, double the fun?

Back in 2006 and 2007, it looked as if Nintendo had more or less won this generation’s console war in the beginning. Amongst the constant flaming and fighting on online message boards, no one was willing to accept that Nintendo was on to something good. A whole demographic that was left untouched.

The Wii was designed with someone who games only casually, in mind. The motion controls helped people older and younger than ever before get interested in gaming, instead of being intimidated by the 12-button layout of the modern console controller. And Nintendo made a lot of money.

But the Wii’s hardware’s graphical capabilities couldn’t match that of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. So the Nintendo ended up alienating the core gamer fanbase. As a result, in the last couple of years, Nintendo has failed to bring in expected profits due to the lack of multiplatform games that were only available on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. 

Nintendo acknowledges that it cannot guarantee that the Wii U will not end up like the Wii when it comes to multiplatform games.

Microsoft and Sony had tried to recreate Nintendo’s success by making their own motion control devices. Sony came up with the PlayStation Move, and Microsoft came up with the Kinect. Neither companies have managed to recapture the success of Nintendo.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia commented, "Some of the developers we spoke to indicated to us that the console will have 50% more processing power compared to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. This is yet to be confirmed by Nintendo."

Nintendo did little to prove this point at this year’s E3. They had used footage of Xbox 360 and PS3 titles during their press conference.

Mr. Iwata hopes that the Wii U’s innovative GamePad controller with the screen will help the console to be different from what Microsoft or Sony would be doing, and hopes to change the way people think about a gaming console.

"Video game consoles have long been 'parasites' of TV sets at home. In other words, game consoles have used TV sets in a family instead of being equipped with their own screen. However, the Wii U will be the first console free from TV sets, in which you can play the Wii U while someone else is watching TV or you yourself can watch TV while using the Wii U. As you can experience deeper entertainment with both the Wii U GamePad and the TV screen, we would like to enrich it but, at the same time, we hope to furnish it with games you can enjoy only with the Wii U GamePad. [...] Furthermore, the Wii U can change the way you use the TV set in your living room, although the Wii U is a video game system in its nature and this is just an added component," said Satoru Iwata.

SMART announces interactive flat panel 'Board 8055i' in India

The technological wave has hit the educational sector and it's not only pen and paper that are likely to be replaced by electronic devices, but as suggested by a recent study, even classroom boards and chalk/pens face a similar threat. SMART has announced one such educational solution in the form of the SMART Board 8055i interactive flat panel, which is a 55-inch touchscreen board. It blends a high-definition, shadow-free, 55–inch LCD display with advanced multi-touch capabilities and SMART Notebook collaborative learning software. It also offers access to the SMART Exchange website, wherein educators can connect, share and download nearly 60,000 digital resources.
To make teaching interactive...
On its way to making teaching interactive...

The board is highly interactive with features like presence detection and support for freestyle interaction that allows users to select, move or write over objects simultaneously for increased interaction. The presence detection automatically detects user movements for quick startup and automatic shut-down which eventually helps with power saving. The incorporated DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology for the interactive panel enhances multi-touch experience, freestyle interaction, touch gestures and object awareness.

“The introduction of this interactive flat panel expands our display line, offering educators flexibility and choice as they plan their teaching, learning and student collaboration spaces,” says Linda Thomas, Vice President, Products, SMART Technologies. “We will continue to develop and expand our line of displays, including our interactive projectors, to offer even more choice to our customers and strengthen our position as a leading provider of collaborative learning solutions.”

A quick look at the highlights of the SMART Board 8055i -
  • Commercial-grade, touch-enabled display: The 55-inch commercial-grade high-definition display is powered by DViT technology for a vivid display and touch experience. It has a hardened, scratch resistant, anti-glare etched glass for reducing friction and eliminating reflections.
  • Natural touch gestures – The screen accepts common multi-touch gestures like panning, flicking pages and object gestures, such as zoom, toss and rotate.
  • Object awareness – It can identify when users switch between a finger, a pen or an eraser. Users can write with a pen, erase with a palm and move objects with their finger, without having to press buttons, access on-screen menus or replace tools.
  • SMART Ink – Write notes over any lesson and save them as a SMART Notebook file and turn handwritten notes into text objects to manipulate.
  • Presence detection – Sensors detect and automatically respond to user movements, so the interactive flat panel turns on and stays in active mode when people are near and turns off when no movement is detected.

There is no word yet on the pricing of the SMART Board 8055i. However, it is expected to hit Indian stores in August. SMART also plans to release a series of these SMART Boards in varying screen sizes.

Nexus 7 gets a camera app

The Nexus 7 was launched amidst much fanfare at the recently concluded Google I/O, but many noticed that the tablet did not come with a dedicated camera app take photographs, despite having a front facing camera for video calling. Google hadn’t included a camera app by default and that didn’t come as good news to those who liked clicking pictures with camera effects. Now, as reported, Paul O’Brien of MoDaCo has published a Camera app for the Nexus 7 to the Play store.

Well, the Nexus 7 isn’t available everywhere yet, but if you do manage to get one, you might just need this app to be able to click self portrait snaps. With this device you need not root the tablet and no special permissions are required. The app includes features that were a part of Ice Cream Sandwich, along with 720p recording if that’s what you want to do with the 1.2 megapixel front camera. 
Camera App arrives

On a related note, we do hope that the Nexus 7 reaches Indian shores as soon as possible, as we cannot wait to get our hands on this low budget quad-core beauty. For those not in the know, this model comes equipped with a 7-inch IPS display that boasts a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip. As for the memory, Google has added a 1GB RAM, which should be able to match up with the best in the business. This tablet should be a gamer's delight  and Google has touted it as a serious gaming device with its 2-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU.
This ASUS-made tablet is not just designed to take on Apple’s highly successful iPad, but will also pose a stiff threat to the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google aims to tackle the competition better with its pricing strategy. The Google Nexus 7 tablet is available in two storage capacities - which are 8GB and 16GB and the brand has priced it extremely competitively at $199 and $249, respectively. This puts rest to the countless rumours surrounding the pricing of the tablet, some of which had pointed out that the price would be in the sub-$200 price bracket.

As far as connectivity is concerned, there had been rumours that the Google Nexus 7 tablet would not come equipped with 3G connectivity, in order to keep the price to a minimum and the brand has done just that. The connectivity options found on this flagship Google Nexus 7 tablet, include Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and NFC capabilities. This tablet also comes with Google Wallet pre-installed. As for the camera featured here, it comes as no surprise that Google has just added only a front facing camera that can be used for video calls, but what is interesting is that this camera can shoot HD 720p videos.

When it comes to the size, this 7-inch tablet measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm and weighs 340g. These dimensions allow it to go head-to-head with the Amazon Kindle Fire. 

The Google Nexus 7 will be the first device running on Google’s latest operating software, which is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. As far as availability is concerned, we’re expecting a date somewhere in September.