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All posts tagged "software"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Improved Nook Simple Touch Now Priced At $99

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:37 PM

"In addition to the new $249 Nook Tablet revealed this morning at a press event in New York City, Barnes & Noble announced a new price drop to $99 and a software update for the Nook Simple Touch eReader."

Part of the Nook Tablet announcement this morning was the release of the Nook Simple Touch E-ink reader. The Simple Touch is an updated version of the Nook Touch. It comes with an improved screen touted by Barnes and Noble as the "most advanced E-ink display" and updated software.

The Simple Touch is now available at for $99, down $40 from $139. This price drop brings the Barnes and Noble's offering in line with the ad supported Kindle Touch E-ink reader. The update is available to older Touch owners and can be found at

Monday, October 31, 2011

New ASUS Tablets (Android and Windows 8) Coming in 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Eee PC Transformer" @ 05:30 PM

"The Transformer Prime, with its quad-core silicon and tasty OS, has rightfully garnered much attention lately. A PowerPoint deck detailing ASUS' Q3 earnings now gives us a peek at its Eee Pad strategy -- confirming the aforementioned Prime's November 9th release date, while also promising two more bot-powered slates in the first quarter of 2012."

Looking at the accompanying information from ASUS, translated into English (somewhere), and then extracted from a German-language site, the news is about an ASUS Transformer Prime, followed by an ASUS PadFone and a variant on the Eee Pad Slider. Two (2) Windows 8 tablets (Eee Slate E121 and the Eee Slate Business B121) are scheduled to be available in the autumn of 2012, giving ASUS two tablet technologies (consumer *and* business) in the marketplace.

The Transformer Prime looks to have NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 10-inch display, 14.5-hour battery run time, and should run Android's newest OS. The current Transformer is a very solid tablet, and these updates should be welcomed by its fans.

ASUS estimates that it will sell roughly 1.8-million tablets in 2011, with an additional estimate of 600K still to be sold/delivered in Q4 2011 in addition to the 1.2-million sold to date. While the news is (and dates are) a bit contradictory in translation, we can expect some new competitors to the iPad from ASUS.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Coming Soon

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 AM

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus tablet with Android 3.2 Honeycomb is available for pre-order on Amazon.Eager customers can now place their pre-orders for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus on Amazon. The device cost $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 32GB version. Shipping dates have not yet been announced."

I think that Samsung will find it tough going competing against the Kindle Fire, especially for twice the price, even though this Wifi-only tablet sports Android 3.2, a 1024x600 touchscreen, front and rear-facing cameras, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. I travel a lot, and regularly perform (admittedly very unscientific) tallies of the types of devices that I see at airports, on airplanes, in coffee shops and restaurants, etc; and I really haven't seen many 7-inch tablets (Kindle readers, yes), so this market segment has room to grow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Windows 8 Tablet Review: Kupa X11

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:00 AM

"Windows 8 tablets are just around the corner but and tablet maker Kupa is showing off the X11 running the upcoming operating systems. It was great to play around with a tablet that has Windows 8 navigation up and running."

Interesting to see Windows 8 and the new Metro UI running (and running pretty well for a prototype) on a tablet. Retailing starting at $699, the 900 gram, 10.1-inch X11 sports an Intel Atom processor, a 1366x768 semi-gloss high-res screen, 2GB RAM, front and rear cameras, a nice collection of ports, and a 64GB SSD. For $999 (or $799 per the video) the X11 adds 3G service, and ups the SSD to 128GB. No details were provided on availability, or on a critical component, battery life. To me, the X11 looked a bit bulky (thick), and a bit unwieldy, but again, it's a prototype, not a finished product. Thoughts?

Friday, September 23, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Slider Review

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

"While most Android tablets make due with a touch keyboard, for many typists a set of virtual keys just doesn't cut it. It's for these users that ASUS has designed the Eee Pad Slider SL101, the first 10-inch Android tablet with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The $479 Eee Pad Slider also features a bright IPS screen, a full-size USB port (for attaching a storage drive or mouse), and a sleek soft-touch chassis. But do these goodies justify the 2.1-pound weight? And just how good is the typing experience?"

For those that prefer physical keyboards, ASUS has heard you! The Eee Pad Slider is larger and heavier than both the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (without the keyboard), but add a keyboard and the Slider is lighter. The wide bezel around the glossy IPS screen allows for a larger (but still smaller than a netbook) keyboard, and includes dedicated numeric keys. It is also possible to attach a mouse to better approximate a laptop. One point to note is that there is no palmrest, so support for the wrists is lacking, and no built-in pointing device.

If you do a lot of text entry, this is a good tablet choice, but if not, there are better (lighter, and less expensive) options.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shootout at the NAS Corral

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:30 PM,0

"The computer industry is in a constant state of tension between local and distributed computing. On one extreme is the desktop computer with terabytes of storage, a powerful CPU and GPU, and huge tracts of RAM-but which mostly restricts users to direct local access. On the other end are smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and other thin-client devices that rely on cloud storage and constant data access to make up for their lack of oomph, but which allow users to access their data from anywhere. Both types of computing have their advantages, and both can benefit hugely from a home server or other network-attached storage (NAS) device."

MaximumPC reviewed and rated four (4) NAS configurations, and rated them as follows (barebones cost and rating in parenthesis): Promise SmartStor NS4700 ($850, 7); Synology DS411+II ($700, 8); Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad ($1200, but with four 1TB drives pre-installed, 5); QNAP TS-459 Pro II ($950, 9).

The QNAP TS-459 Pro II wins easily, followed by the Synology DS411+II. If you need vast amounts of storage, you really can't go wrong with any of the four, although the Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad suffers from wonky software and bad write performance. An alternative for Windows users is Windows Home Server. I've got a couple portable USB-powered backup drives at 1GB each, and alternate backups between them, so I guess that I've got my own cheap guy equivalent (RAID -1 ?) for a lot less money, but, if you need serious, reliable backup horsepower, then these are some fine options!

OS X Lion From A Different Vista

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 08:00 AM

There are those in life who would, by their own will, take a bullet for you. And while they may be called by different names - Secret Service, Best Friend, Idiot, Early Adopter - they are by all accounts, heroes. My friends, we here at Thoughts Media - we are those people. As early adopters of new technology, we take bullets for you on a daily basis; and we do this with pride. Though we may not wear capes (well some of us anyway - let's not get Jason into this) we take on new devices and software products with the knowledge that our actions may result in a smaller bank account, bricked phone, inoperable computer, and many other horrible, horrible possibilities.

And with that, I present to you Apple's latest operating system, OS X Lion. Lion's are hunters. They have been known to stalk humans; later known as dinner. Their claws are sharp, their teeth pointy, and their attacks deadly. So what does this have to do with Apples latest OS? In one word: plenty. This review, or anti-review, is not meant to compliment the hundreds of Lion reviews already posted. Instead, it is a real account of experiences with the operating system that we here at Thoughts Media felt you could benefit from; it is a map around a minefield - set in the Serengeti. Read more...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Introducing Windows 8 Ultratablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:00 AM

"This week we have warring conferences as Microsoft and Intel scheduled their developer events on top of each other. This means there are a massive number of us trying to be in two places at once, mostly unsuccessfully."

Intel and Microsoft are trying to hasten the evolution of the transportable computer by melding an ultralight laptop and a touchscreen tablet. Windows 8 aims to kick-start things on x86-based Ultratablets by running both the new Metro UI (touchy-feely) for tablet-style apps, and a traditional desktop for legacy Windows apps. ARM computers (tablets) will be limited to Metro UI style apps (no legacy Windows) at least until legacy apps are ported. In the Apple world, this is analagous to Mac OS X gaining the ability to run iOS apps, along with OS X, while iOS devices can run only iOS (not legacy OS X) apps.

Assuming that the big brains can get this all right, we'll see Ultratablets with a great touch interface (but also a keyboard), long battery life, under $1000, with the power to run any (type of) apps. So no more laptops that are great content creators but lousy content providers/consumers, or tablets that are lousy content creators but great content consumers. One device that meets all these needs, the Ultratablet - isn't this what we're all hoping for?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is Windows 8 The Future of Tablet Operating Systems?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 07:00 PM

"The Samsung Windows 8 Developer Preview PC is kind of like the anti-iPad. And we’re not complaining. The Live Tile interface is more dynamic. You can write on it with a pen. And it boots even faster. But you can’t buy this slate. It was designed to let developers sink their teeth into Windows 8 to start cranking out apps."

Are we seeing the beginning of the end for Windows laptops? This preview edition seems to meld the best of a laptop with tablet features (or Windows Phone 7 features, if you prefer). The Metro UI is quite a departure from legacy Windows, but the more I see of it, the more I like it. And, there will be a desktop mode for those that aren't (yet) comfortable with touch mode. Not a lot of core apps are available now, but the preview is impressive.

Throw the tablet in its docking station, and add a bluetooth keyboard, and, bye bye laptop!

Hello Windows of the future!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Xbox Live Coming to Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:56 PM

The above image is from someone's Flickr account, so I'm not sure if it's real, but Engadget is reporting that Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. This is impressive - between the Xbox hooked up to a TV, a Windows Phone, and Windows 8 on a PC or tablet, Microsoft has a three-screens entertainment strategy that can actually compete with Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Not bad Microsoft, not bad at all. Note that there's no word "Zune" anywhere in that screen shot, or on the Engadget one. That reinforces to me that the Zune brand is on the way out...but I wonder what they'll re-brand the awesome desktop software to? Xbox doesn't make sense as a media player brand - well, not to me at least.

Windows 8: This is the Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:48 AM

"Microsoft is welcoming around 5,000 developers to its BUILD conference today to unveil the most significant change in the PC space since Windows 95. "It's a launch," explains Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. "It's a launch of an opportunity for developers. That's a lot, it's a big deal to do today and tomorrow," he says during an opening address to media and analysts in Anaheim California. You sense the sense of excitement in the room and the realisation that Windows 8 is a really big deal for Microsoft, a deal that cannot go wrong."

It's taken years, but Microsoft has finally delivered a truly workable touch-based interface. Check out the video above; the performance is stunning. Everything is smooth and impressively fluid. Yes, this is a developer's build so it's not finished, but seeing performance like this early on is a great indicator of what's to come. Windows 8 is also significantly lighter on resources than Windows 7; Engadget's post says that Windows 7 SP1 required 404 MB of RAM and had 32 processes running. Compare that to Windows 8 using only 281 MB of RAM and having 28 processes - that's big, big improvement.

Are you excited? I'm excited! More coverage here on Business Insider and Engadget.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fusion Garage Grid 10 Tablet Starting at $299 in October

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 AM

"Looks like we're all indebted to HP in one way or another. Since the TouchPad fire sale began, we've seen a noticeable southward shift in tablet pricing -- it's as if iPad rivals finally figured out that battling on price was just about the only way to make a dent in Apple's enviable market share. Now, we're seeing Fusion Garage wipe a full $200 from its Grid 10 tablet... before the thing even ships."

Very interesting that they're dropping their prices before they've shipped a single tablet. Built on an Android kernel, Fusion Garage has built an OS for the tablet, calling it Grid OS. It will run Android apps, but, as of today has no access to the Android Market. According to Fusion Garage, their intention all along has been to price the tablet this aggressively, with some contractual obligations delaying the price drop. Now scheduled to arrive in North America about October 1, 2011, this price point may attract some buyers not wanting to ante up for an iPad, as well as impulse buyers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do Androids Like Firefox

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

"When I interviewed the head of Mozilla’s mobile division, I asked why there wasn’t yet a Firefox Honeycomb-tablet version. Thomas Arend assured me that it would arrive eventually, but noted that the company was making Firefox as fast and light as possible. He then added that the larger screen size and version advancements would allow Mozilla to “do some special things in our next version.”"

Firefox helped keep the browser wars alive and push browser technology further. However, web browsers are still a hot industry and standing still is not something any browser can really afford. While Android provides a competent browser, there is still plenty of room for competitors. While there may be some good reasons to switch from Android's default browser, I wonder if it will really be enough to drive people to change. I have seen the power of default choices and I suspect that without a good deal of marketing, Firefox faces a pretty tough uphill battle in gaining popularity.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sony's Tablet S: Late to the Party

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:30 PM

"To challenge the iPad, Sony knows that it can't just slap its brand on an Android tablet and expect shoppers to open their wallets. So the company took its time bringing the Tablet S to market. The goal: to deliver a one-of-a-kind design, a smoother web browsing experience than competing Android slates, and plenty of content to keep users coming back for more. This sleek device ($499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB) will access Sony's music, book, and video stores, and it comes with two PlayStation games--with more on the way."

Being late to the party, Sony needs to catch-up fast, and hope that their Tablet S will become a true competitor to the iPad. This tablet seems to have been mostly "done right," and its folding design is said to resemble a lightweight folded magazine. Sony did pay attention to details, but made some odd design choices, like very recessed power and volume controls, flimsy port covers, and a strangely configured AC adapter.

With Android 3.1, a great TruBlack 1280x800 display, crisp, loud sound, a very good onscreen keyboard, decent battery life, and NVIDIA Tegra processor, the Tablet S performs fairly well for a pre-release version. Once the production version is available, it should run apps consistently well, including potentially additional PlayStation apps besides the two currently bundled. Costs are expected to be $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB) for wifi versions, with no availability date mentioned.

Vonage's Time to Call App: 15 Free Minutes, International Calling and a Free iPad 2!

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:40 AM

Time to Call is a free app from Vonage, that lets you make phone calls (including international calls) from your iPhone or iPad 2 at very affordable rates. And as a bonus, they are giving you 15 minutes of calling time when you download the app using this link. The cool thing about this app is that it uses your iTunes account to pay for the minutes, so you don't have to mess around with calling cards or getting an operator involved. All you do is make the call and it will subtract the charges direct from your iTunes account. The rates are pretty reasonable too as outlined in the details below:

  • Pay per call and talk up to 15 minutes to 100 countries for $1.99 or less (not including taxes)
  • For an additional 90+ countries, talk up to 15 minutes for $2.99 to $9.99 (not including taxes)
  • Works on WiFi internationally, 3G in the US and Canada
  • FREE download - No need to be a Vonage home customer
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: Download now and call up to 15 minutes for FREE.

If you go to the Vonage site, you can easily find out how much your 15 minutes of calling time will be as it is based on the country you are calling. Simply select the country from the drop down list and it gives you the cost in US Dollars. Pretty simple. For example, calling Argentina will set you back $1.99 USD for 15 minutes of calling time, of course that is not including the 15 free minutes you get just for downloading the app. And make sure to read on to find out how to win an iPad 2 from Vonage as part of their promotion for the new app.


Sunday, August 28, 2011 Wrapping Freeware in Bloatware

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"There was a time long, long ago when was the place I went for software. It's been years, however, as the site repeatedly showed signs of devolving into a site every bit as bothersome as the many third-tier software repositories that hide genuine links below clever-placed advertisements and bundle toolbars with their "certified" local downloads."

Well isn't this just an ugly corner CNET's has backed themselves into. They're apparently taking freeware applications such as VLC Media Player and wrapping the installer inside another installer...and the CNET installer includes toolbars and other ad-based crapware. By all accounts, they seem to be doing it without the permission of the developer who's software it is they're "wrapping". What a mess. I hope the developers rise up and take their software off of Without key software to drive traffic, is just an empty shell...

Microsoft Improves File Copying in Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:37 AM

"Microsoft tonight showed a new approach to copying and moving files in Windows 8, the next version of its PC operating system - aiming to clean up, clarify and consolidate the jumble of dialog boxes that Windows users have dealt with for years."

The above screen shot is more than a little geeky - let's face it, an average user isn't going to click on More Details to see this - but I really like this. Now if I could only figure out why file transfers to my HP Windows Home Server start out at 90 MB/s and drop to 5 MB/s after a few minutes. Sigh...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tablet Takeover Marches On

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:30 PM

"First introduced by Microsoft in 1999, many reviewed the Tablet PC as a toy. With the release of Apple's iPad in 2010, the mobile computing world has been consumed with tablets - mobile devices bigger than a smartphone, but smaller than a laptop. This infographic done with Socialcast, looks at the state of the tablet takeover."

According to this story done entirely as a set of graphics, almost five times as many tablets have been sold in 2011 as in 2010, at least in Q2. According to this source, 72% of US enterprises are using tablets, mostly for email, secondary uses are web browsing and presentations. Perhaps more telling, Apple's share of the tablet OS has shrunk from 94.3% to 61.3%, with Android's share going from 2.9% to 30.1%, or, more than a ten-fold increase. Predictions:

  • Tablet sales will overtake notebook sales in 2012
  • One in five US consumers will own a tablet by 2014
  • US consumers will buy 82.1 million tablets in 2015
  • 27.4% of workers believe that tablets will replace notebooks, but 39% believe that some other device will replace notebooks. Any ideas out there as to what the "other" devices could be?

Data sources credited include Model Metrics, iPass, Harris Interactive, Forrester Research, Gartner, Strategy Analytics, Nielsen and Ringcentral. More sources equate to more credible guesses, in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ilium Software Offering eWallet GO! for 99 Cents/Free

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 03:03 PM

"Do you have too much info to remember? Do you wish you could take all your passwords, credit cards, account information and logins with you - so they're handy when you want them? But keep them safe - so you don't have to worry about intruders finding them? You need eWallet GO!TM If you want secure, easy, mobile storage for all your info, just grab eWallet GO! and take your passwords with you everywhere you GO!"

Well's a good deal! Effective now and running until the 21st of this month, you can get eWallet GO! for a mere 99 cents on Windows Phone 7, Android, and iPhone/iPod Touch devices. On Windows and Mac versions, the software is free. Sweet! Jump here to find the version you need. The OS X version is in the Mac App store, and the Windows version requires registration for the free download. On iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, you'll find it in their respective app stores.

Monday, August 15, 2011

TabCo Fusion Garage Grid 10 Tablet and Grid 4 Phone

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:30 PM,281...,2391116,00.asp

"Earlier this summer, a company called TabCo burst onto the scene with videos, skywriting (yes, really), and the promise that it was "reinventing the wheel." What and who TabCo actually was, however, was still unknown. Until Monday, anyway.

A lot of cheesy, manufactured hype, and now (or September 15th), maybe a real device promoted from a possibly pre-recorded press conference. This may be a 10-inch tablet with 1366x768 resolution, 16GB storage, a Nvidia Tegra 2 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, weighing in at 690g. Their own OS is called GridOS, and is built on an Android kernel, with major UI tinkering, including an on-screen navigation wheel, that promises to baffle end users. Price for the WiFi only version will be $499, with a WiFi/3G model expected to cost $599.

The 16GB Grid 4 phone has a 4-inch screen with 800x480 resolution, and is expected to cost $399 unlocked. GridOS promises some synergy between tablet and phone, for example, playing video on the tablet, stopping it, and restarting it on the phone from the exact point where it stopped. PC Mag promises a full review if and when the products are actually in their hands. Skeptical? Yes I am.

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