Monday, February 28, 2011

What Would You Like to See Demonstrated on Adam?

     I'm taking suggestions of what you want to see demonstrated to my Adam. It could be a video of it running flash or a video taken with the Adam's camera. Drop me a suggestion in the comments below.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Notion Ink Adam Full Review

     This is a going to be a sad story. I have been following the Notion Ink scene for a year now, and this is all I have to show for it. The Adam has the makings of a great tablet, but it was just pushed out to soon with an inexperienced company. Find out everything good and bad after the break.
The Hardware
     The Hardware is excellent. The tablet is a bit on the thick side with a nice curve on the top to give it excellent grip. The back is entirely plastic, but that doesn't cause any problems. Around the edges it has two USB ports, on mini USB, the volume rocker, the power switch, a micro SD/SIM slot, a full size HDMI port, the headphone jack, the power port, and an odd back button. The Speakers are absolutely fantastic. The have great sound with and awesome stereo effect. The microphone isn't quite as good, but it is still supreme. The swivel camera on top feels a little loose, but not to the point that it will be a problem. My biggest gripe with the camera isn't the low quality, which I will get to later, it's the fact that it doesn't swivel the full 185 degrees like is stated in the tech specs. When locked in the forward position, it is perfectly parallel to the screen. 

The Screen
     The screen is definitely not the best feature of the device. It may be the worst feature of the device aside from the software. It is a 16:9, 10.1", 1024x600 screen. It was made for landscape mode, and in portrait mode it looks a little stretched out. The viewing angles aren't great either. You can get a better viewing angle by tilting it in portrait mode, but you are rarely in portrait mode. 

The Camera
     It has a 3.2MP auto-focus camera mounted in that special little swivel. The pictures are grainy and underwhelming. They are about what you would expect from a camera of that resolution, but a little worse. It is labeled as auto-focus, but it just cycles in and out of focus all of the time like it's in an endless loop. You just have to take the picture at the exact moment when the object is in focus. The video is the same way. Throughout an entire video it just cycles in and out of focus. You can't make a decent video unless you are in a video call.

The Software
     Inside you will find a dual-core Tegra II processor powering the beast. Coupled with that you get 1GB RAM and 8GB of flash memory. The problem with all of this is that you would never know it by using it. The Eden UI is slow. The apps are slow. The launcher is slow. Scrolling is far from smooth. The whole thing acts like the speed of a mid-range smartphone. It should be almost as fast as the Xoom, and it just isn't. The problem all lies with the software. 
     The problem isn't just speed, it's also the extreme amount of bugs that Notion Ink has yet to work out. I can't be productive on it because it is only a matter of time before something force closes on me and all of my work is gone. The apps are fantastic, but still slower than they should be. For a look into the good side of the software click here. I had several problems with the tablet rebooting spontaneously. One time it even went into a spontaneous reboot cycle. For a full list of the bad click here. 
    One of the biggest (it would be the biggest problem if the software was worth a dime) problems with the device is the Android Market or lack thereof. I understand that the Adam is not a phone, and that the Market is made for phones. Honeycomb still has access to the same phone apps that the Adam would. Rohan has stated back in December that the market would come with the update to Honeycomb which they are currently working on. Notion Ink is slated to release their own Genesis store in a short amount of time, but with the Adam's user base, it can't have a significant amount of apps in it. Just like the iPad, it's the apps that make it and without those apps it is not made. They need to give us a stable Honeycomb update that includes Eden and the Market. 
    
Wrap-up
     With amazing apps like Mail'd and Sniffer, and amazing guts like the Tegra II processor, the Adam has the potential to go far. Right now I can't recommend it to the average user. The user experience was suffering so much that I rooted mine to get the market and ad-hoc (and now Edenx) until Notion Ink pushes out an update that fixes the bugs. When Notion Ink pushes out a stable build of Honeycomb with the market, the Adam will shine, but until that happens we will just have to keep faith in the hands of Notion Ink.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adam Initial Impressions... The Good Side of the Story

     Yesterday I told you about most of the bad things I have noticed so far, and now it's time to point out the good before somebody picks up the bad to use against Notion Ink.
     The apps that Notion Ink has designed are quite fantastic. Two of my favorites are Mail'd and Sniffer. They really utilize the panel system to its full extent. They don't use the back button like other Android apps would. Instead, they use backwards swipes to navigate back to the point of origin. The Calendar app should also be mentioned as one of the stand out apps. Three apps that have yet to arrive are the amazing looking weather app, the specialized music app (it currently has the stock Android music app), and the Genesis store.

     I thought that the panel system would come in handy, but ti hasn't for me. I usually find myself reaching for the menu button to launch the full app. I can see where it be of use, but it just hasn't found its way into my needs yet. The "alpha panel" is extremely useful. It is the center for music, mail, facebook (oddly), and the recent apps. A tap on the top of the Alpha panel brings the panels down to reveal a list of apps that, sadly, aren't rearrangeable. The panel system is nice, but apps have to be written for the Adam to utilize the panel system. I have already written what I want to see from the panels here.
   
     One of the most useful parts of the tablet is the inclusion of USB ports and sniffer. I have control of what is on my tablet. I have used a flash drive several times to transfer apk's and songs. This is one thing that the Adam has that is above all other tablets on the market right now. Right along with the USB ports is the full HDMI port on the side. Angry Birds never looked so good. The Adam will be in awesome standing if they can just fix the software problems I discussed here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adam Initial Impressions

     I have had my Adam for a day now and what do I think about it? It's a mixture of good and bad so far. Be warned though, because this post will consist mostly of the bad. Read after the break for Impressions.
     I'll start off on a good not by discussing the hardware. It is fantastic. I may not be as svelte as an iPad, but it is still great in the hands. That curve combined with the large amount of bezel creates an amazing grip. The back button on the side serves little purpose for me. I think the power switch would be better if it has an actual button instead of the slide switch that it is. The camera is a tad wobbly, and I can guarantee that it only swivels 180 degrees. I can get 185 degrees out of it by shoving it down, but it locks at 180. The silk screen on the back has a typo directly under where it says,"Created with love by Notion Ink Design Labs". The mistake reads,"This may device must accept any interference received...". The hardware buttons definitely need to have a backlight. I don't know what's wrong with the wifi radio. It has terrible signal strength. I mean TERRIBLE.

     On to the software. It needs work. I don't mean work like pulling an all-nighter at the office; I mean work like building a house in a week with only two people. I may be exaggerating a little, but the software does need some serious tweaking. I like the Eden UI, but the experience is suffering. With its Tegra guts, it should be capable of buttery smooth animations and seemless transitions. I liken the speed right now to that of the original Motorola Droid (You know. The one with a 500mhz processor.). Angry Birds ran like butter, so it has to be the UI that holds the slow problem. I like the hidden notification bar if I can get it open. I have to tap on that little battery in the corner several times to get the dumb thing open. I can't believe how unresponsive it is, and the launcher is the same way but not quite as bad.

   I would put up with all of that and give it a stellar rating if it weren't for the biggest problem with the device. It doesn't have the Android Market. I didn't think it was going to be that big of a problem, but having to side load all of your apps only to find out that have of them won't install, crash, etc. is the biggest pain of the entire device. Rohan said in an interview back in December that the Honeycomb update would also bring the Market to the device. I hope he hasn't changed his mind. Genesis is a good idea, but the user base is way too small to have a good quantity of apps. I haven't found an apk of flash that works yet. So far, they have all caused the browser to crash.

    You may ask if I hate my Adam. The answer is no, because I love my Adam and I have faith in Notion Ink. Faith is what got me to this point. I have confidence that they will bring out software updates that with fix these problems (the terrible wifi signal strength worries me due to the fact that it is a hardware problem) and eventually update it to Honeycomb with the market. In case you are wondering, I have the LCD + WiFi variant. If you are thinking about ordering one I am going to say go for it!

     

Adam Used With a Stylus

 The viewers have requested a demonstration of a capacitive stylus on the Adam, and here it is. I can already tell you that it isn't pretty, but your results may vary with different styluses. I'm using the Pogo Stylus for iPhone. 


 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Adam is Here!

     It came at about 5 PM. Until I get some first thoughts up, here are the unboxing photos. The box converts to a stand. It came with a nice travel adapter for those overseas.
























Monday, February 21, 2011

Honeycomb Has Changed my Opinion of Custom UI's

     A little more than a year ago the greatly rumored Google phone was announced, and everyone thought it was fantastic. It has since set the standard for hardware. The appeal in the Nexus One for me was only partly the hardware; the software had the most amount of pull. It packed stock eclair without any of that skinned garbage. Custom UI weren't as commonplace then as they were now which is not the way I want things going. The UI's they put on phones are sometimes beneficial, but they usually cause problems like Samsung's Touchwiz. And then came Honeycomb....
     Honeycomb has this awesome new user interface that is almost impossible and unreasonable to skin. HTC is convinced to put Sense on the Flyer for it to get Honeycomb. Notion Ink is going to deck out Honeycomb with their Eden UI. What we have at this point in time are a ton of tablets that all run stock Honeycomb. They have very little differences other than a few hardware specs. It's a massive see of sameness. Is that what it would be like if all android phones ran stock builds? Probably.

     Manufacturers have every right to meddle with the source code to their own pleasing. They need a way to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Often times, this is the only reason they have their own skin. Is there any other reason for Touchwiz's existence? I still hate custom UI's, but I see there purpose for the people making them. Without them we would have many different bodies floating around with the same face.

AT&T Blocking HSUPA on HTC Inspire 4G?

     HSUPA is the uploading half of the 3G spectrum for those of you that are wondering, and apparently AT&T is blocking this simple feature on the Inspire. It was originally thought that the Ispire simply did not have the hardware for it, but new reports say that the capability is just be blocked by AT&T. The question is why on earth would you do that? Of all the things you could block.

Is Google Trying to Make Chrome Slightly More Annoying?

     I love Google Chrome, and I don't think there is a feature that I haven't used at one point in time. Three of the most important and best features of Chrome are the omnibar, the tabs, and the extensions in order of importance. Firefox has the tabs and extensions, but Chrome excels at it. The omnibar of Chrome is the big standout feature that adds an entirely new level of usefulness. This new idea suggests that Google is thinking about giving the omnibar an auto-hide feature.
     The reason for this nonsense is to save the space. Chrome is already good at saving space, but that apparently isn't good enough. Having to mouse-over everytime I want to use the omnibar (which is constantly) could get annoying fast. The linux version of Chrome requires you to triple click to select all in the omnibar. Could this be one of those annoying feature? They can hide my address bar, but my bookmarks bar stays!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Make a Phone Case From Masking Tape

 Did you ever feel the need for a case, but not feel the need for spending the money? With a little time you can just tape your phone back over for cheap protection. You could use duck tape for a classier look, but masking tape is easier to handle and my phone with still fit in my keyboard case. The curves are a bit tricky to get smooth. Masking tape also makes for a nice template to fill in the logos if you so desire.



   

Saturday, February 19, 2011

HTC Flyer Impressions

     HTC had a hay day at MWC with the release of six new devices. One of those devices was HTC's first tablet that has been rumored for several months now. At first glance it looks like a giant HTC Sense-skinned phone, but it holds more secrets than meets the eye. It has quickly become my favorite 7" tablet so far.
     The Flyer is a powerhouse that packs 2.4 Gingerbread and a 1.5Ghz processor. The tablet also has a 5MP camera on the back with a VGA camera on the front. Immediately the device seemed outdated because it doesn't run Honeycomb, but HTC has stated that it will get an update when they formulate a way to skin it with Sense. At launch it will run a tablet specific version of Sense. The HTC Flyer looks like a great, small tablet that will only get better with Honeycomb.

Update: The killer feature on this tablet that I forgot to mention is the stylus. It has a stylus that you can use with the usual multi-touch screen. The software side of the stylus is called HTC Scribe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We Need Google Music

     It's a simple fact. We don't just need Google Music to have some type of iTunes competitor, but to give android some multimedia capabilities that aren't terrible. Since it is from Google, it will probably have some variety of streaming capabilities with it. No more filling up your SD card with your giant music library. This could be less convenient if you have a slow or no internet, but that is a discussion for a later day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recap on Devices Released By HTC at MWC

     Here we are on the third day of mobile world congress. I would normally summarize the new devices, but Slashgear put together a nice article to do it for me, so here it is. All credit goes to Slashgear.com. You may notic several mentions on 2.4 Gingerbread. I haven't heard any official word on the differences, so if you you know the difference between 2.3 and 2.4 please comment below.
Slashgear:

We had quite a rush of HTC news live from MWC 2011 this morning, so here’s a recap in case you didn’t catch everything. Our very own Chris Davies got plenty of hands-on time with the new product line up from HTC including the Incredible S, Wildfire S, Desire S, Chacha, and Salsa smartphones, as well as the Flyer tablet. Other HTC announcements included an updated version of their HTC Sense, a new videochat app, new support for OnLive cloud gaming service, and their partnership with Qualcomm to develop multi-core devices.
The HTC Incredible S, is perhaps their least appealing device with an” inside-out” industrial style. Performance and features are similar to the previous Incredible , but notable differences include an added front-facing webcam that supports HTC’s new video call app as well as Mirror app. And the device now is GSM compatible. Check here for hands-on video and images.
The HTC Wildfire S is the company’s cheapest phone but the new model seems to be a huge improvement over its predecessor. It has found its own identity now sporting a more angular chassis and also stepped up to an HVGA display from its original QVGA display. However, it lacks a front-facing webcam and therefore cannot utilize HTC’s new video call app. Check here for hands-on details and images.
The HTC Desire S is their bestselling smartphone and has a chassis milled from a single piece of aluminum. The new model’s responsiveness is similar to its predecessor, the Desire, as it still uses 1GHz single-core Snapdragon, but now has added a front-facing webcam that supports the HTC’s new video call app and Mirror app. The production model will be running Android 2.4 Gingerbread. Check here for a hands-on video and images.
The HTC ChaCha and Salsa are the two new smartphones that deeply integrate with Facebook. Of the two, the ChaCha has the better hardware. The Salsa has the bigger screen but feels like a lesser build. It’s difficult to judge the software at this point because the demo units did not seem to have final software loaded. However, they did demonstrate that the integrated Facebook buttons light up when viewing something on screen that can be shared online. Actual production units with final software won’t be available until Q2 2011. Check here for hands-on video and images.
The HTC Flyer tablet introduces the use of stylus in addition to multi-touch with more focus on note-taking and content creation. The 7-inch tablet has a slick aluminum unibody with a matte-finish plastic. The build feels more solid than the Galaxy Tab, and also feels easier to hold. The Flyer features a newly updated HTC Sense on top of Android 2.4 Gingerbread resulting in an enhanced user interface. Check here for hands-on video and images.
Other announcements:
HTC announced that they intend to partner with Qualcomm to develop multi-core devices. However, no timeline or any specifics were presented on upcoming multi-core plans.
The HTC Video Chat app made for Android was demoed as loaded on the HTC Desire S and the HTC Incredible S. The app can be used with the front-facing VGA webcams on the HTC smartphones or on the 1.3MP camera on the HTC Flyer tablet. The app features a simple interface but it is unclear for now whether it is limited to devices within its own ecosystem like how Apple limits Face Time to its own devices, or if there is more flexibility.
HTC also demonstrated their new integration with OnLive cloud gaming on the HTC Flyer.
And, an updated version of the HTC Sense was announced that supports portrait and landscape orientations as well as high-resolution displays like the 1024×600 display of the HTC Flyer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

MWC's Stand-Outs Today

     There have been a slew of devices launched, detailed, and handled today. There is no possible way I could give you all of the details on all of them, so I will just name a few stand-out devices for now. Some push the limit while some just make you ask why.
     LG's entrants may be the devices that ask the question of "why?". The Optimus 3D is a super phone with dual memory and dual-core. It has a super large, but seemingly ubiquitous 4.3" screen with a special feature that adds a little appeal to it. The screen is stereoscopic which allows you to watch 3D without glasses. To get that 3D content it has dual 8MP, 1080p cameras on the back along with a single 2MP shooter on the front. The 7" Optimus Pad (G-Slate in America) also has dual cameras for 3D, but they are only 720p and the screen requires passive glasses to view 3D. The Pad will run Honeycomb and have a Tegra II processor.
    
     Acer has a new entry into the smart phone market that really pushes the limit as to what it will be called. The screen is a whopping 4.8". This thing reaks of Dell Streak, but the bezel seems to be a lot smaller than on other devices, presumably to maximize the portability. Another weird feature it has is the 2MP camera on the back and 8MP on the front. I certainly hope that was a mistake because that just seems stupid to put the goos camera on the front.It is still out for debate in whether it should be considered a tablet.

     The last device I will touch base on today is the Galaxy S WiFi 4.0 and 5.0. Imagine a Galaxy S without any type of cell service and a five inch screen-ed variant. It's about time somebody other than Archos hit on the iPod Touch market.
      

Sunday, February 13, 2011

MWC New Devices On Day One

     The new phones and tablet s are as follows (I may miss one or two):
-Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo
-Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
-Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
-Samsung Galaxy SII
-Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Yes, it's a stampede of "S" brands and uncreative names. Details after the break.
     All of the Xperia's have the same snapdragon processor, 3.7" display, and some variation of Gingerbread (I keep seeing 2.4 listed in the specs as opposed to 2.3).The Neo is the candy bar, while the Play has a thumb pad for gaming and the Pro has a full keyboard. The Neo and Pro have an 8mp camera, and the Play has a 5mp shooter. At this time I'm not sure about these or any other details.
    
     The Galaxt SII is a worthy successor to the original Galaxy S. For cameras, it has an 8mp on the back that's capable of full HD video, and a 2mp on the front for video chat. It has Android 2.3 with Touchwiz 4.0 to power the on board NFC sensor. Like the Tab 10.1 it is powered by a 1Ghz dual-core processor. The new Tab has specs similar to the Xoom with Honeycomb and all. Stay tuned for more news from Mobile World Congress.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smartphones and The Elderly

    How do we live without our smartphones? They are there to help us do everyday things, and they are always with us. In general, we are a little too dependent on them. The majority of the nation isn't quite so lucky to have the gift of a pocket elf to tell them when to take the next step. No, the majority of the nation has a feature or, dare I say, dumb phone.
       Over the years, smart phones have become so easy to use that a small child knows how to flick through those photos without wincing. The iPhone may be the epitome of ease of handling. Your average flip phone, on the other hand, is generally a completely different story. Even the most technically minded of us have trouble from time to time on these simple creatures.

     So then I ask you this: Why do the elderly and completely computer illiterate have such hard to use devices.You may think that is a stupid question, but it really isn't. I'm sure you've been asked how to get to that silly, hidden voice-mail before. All you have to do is place those frequently visited apps right on the home screen so they know exactly where to look for them. Assuming they just use their phone for the basics, all of the apps will fit on one screen.

      A lot of that phone's potential is being wasted by doing this so they can get away with a super budget phone so long as it's easily customized and easy to use. You could get them the iPhone 3Gs or and LG Optimus for under $50. You will most likely be forced to have a data plan, so opt for the smallest amount of data possible and set up some type of service they could use (such as weather or email) so they aren't throwing away the money on data. This plan obviously isn't for everyone, but if you can set up and show them how to use the phone, this could be a viable option. They might get to exploring, and learn how to use it a little more towards its potential.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nokia And Microsoft Together At Last

     It has finally happened. Nokia has a smartphone OS that isn't terrible or stuck in development phase. The announcement was made today that Nokia will be Microsoft's new partner with Windows Phone 7. This could be what Nokia needs to rise up from its slow demise. Windows Phone will become their main focus, but they aren't dropping Symbian or Meego yet. No hardware has been officially announced. It could get really confusing with three mobile OS's running around their labs. Nokia, as an innovator, is dead.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HP Announces New Web OS Line-Up

    HP bought Palm, but the only thing about Palm that's dead is the Palm branding. Today saw the unveil of three new Web OS devices; the HP Veer, HP Touchpad, and the HP Pre3. The HP Veer and Pre3 are the new smartphone entries, while the Touchpad is the much anticipated tablet. Specs after the break.
     Let's start with the HP Veer. The Veer is one of the tiniest smartphones available with a 2.6" screen and full portrait Qwerty. WebOS 2.2 runs its tiny heart which is also powered by an 800mhz processor. Hp said that it's aimed at bridging the gap between feature phone and smartphone. It has a nice amount of 8GB of storage, a 5 MP camera, and that speedy HSPA+ that everyone's been talking about.

     The next entrant is the Pre3. It's obviously a successor to the Pre and Pre2. Powering its WebOS 2.2 is a beastly 1.4Ghz processor. The screen got a boost to 3.6" and a resolution of 800x480. Like the Veer, it has a 5 MP camera at the rear, but unlike the Veer, it shorts a VGA camera up front. Aside from 8/16GB of storage, the other specs are mostly the same as the other WebOS devices on offer.

     Last, but not least, is the HP Touchpad. We have been waiting so long for this worthy iPad rival to appear. A 1.2 Ghz processor powers the WebOS 3.0. Oddly, there is no rear-facing camera; only the front-facing VGA camera. Along with these devices HP also said that WebOS would soon be coming to printers and PC's. Palm (or HP) is back from the dead.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Direction Eden Panels Need To Go (Notion Ink Adam)

     If you don't know what a Notion Ink Adam is, please head over to my explainer page here. Panels are the magic of Eden. They are the basis of the entire UI. They are designed to give you a portion of an app to view next to two other panels. Part of the panel design is to not give full functionality to these panels to save resources and battery. This is a good system, but there are so many places Notion Ink could go with it.
     Android recently had an event to detail their new honeycomb (Android 3.0) OS update. While you probably already know about it, I'll explain it anyway. Honeycomb is built for tablets. Google detailed app fragments to make app that have extra menus and screens when on a bigger screen, but lose the extras for a regular smartphone. Unlike the iPad, an android app can now have one version for both phone and tablet. In his most recent blog post Rohan stated the "Fragments is what panels are".

     We all know that the Adam needs the market. The reason that it doesn't have the market now is because they are all phone apps that look stupid on a huge screen. Why shouldn't we be able to run these phone apps in a panel to avoid blowing it to outlandish proportions? This won't work with all apps (like landscape apps), and it would tax the resources a little harder. For the apps that won't work in panels it doesn't hurt the enlarge an app every once-in-a-while. As for the added pressure on the processor... well I don't have a plan for that.

     Smartphone apps in panels is slightly less of a good idea in froyo as compared to honeycomb. Honeycomb brings app fragments into play for excellent panel integration. You could have the full tablet mode of the app in full screen, and have the slightly stripped phone rendition of the app in the panel. This may have been what Rohan meant when he made is statement about fragments, but it doesn't seem likely. When Notion Ink pushes out the honeycomb update for the Adam the market is coming with it, and the market will come with a plethora of smartphone apps. Notion Ink, please put panels to good use.

A Dual-Screen Phone... Really?

    For the first time I don't know what to think of this. I don't have a clue how people are going to react to this odd, shape-shifting wonder. The Kyocera Echo was released yesterday. It has two 3.5" screens that fold on top of each other, fold out to make a pseudo tablet, or make a tiny Toshiba Libretto style laptop. At its core, it has a 1Ghz Snapdragon and 1GB RAM. No front-facing camera or 4G for this thing.
     To have the honor of the first dual-screen phone, I would expect a lot more from it. The Evo was well worth the honor of the first 4G phone. According to a few hand-on demos, it isn't as fast as it should be. This phone needs some dual-core, video-calling, 4G love. The "tablet mode" that you see above puts the full size at 4.7". That makes it barely bigger than the Samsung Infuse. They should have made the individual screens bigger the iPhone size. 
     That screen break in the middle would throw me off. While most apps would be viewed across both screens, some cam have different functionalities for both screens or you can run two apps at once. Running two apps needs that dual-core. Give it some better specs, bigger screens, and a manufacturer (HTC preferably) that will give it OS updates past froyo and I might consider buying it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Mac App Store - A Good Idea or The Beginning of The End?

    It is old news by now that the Mac App Store was released at the beginning of the year. It is a good idea to have several nice pieces of software available in one place for you to browse at your own free will. Ubuntu has been doing it for years, and Microsoft will probably have one of their own when Windows 8 comes rolling around. What worries me is the chance of  Apple trying to iOS-ify their Mac Store.
     Apple has a bad rap when it comes to the iOS app store being locked down. They control it with an iron fist. One of the main resons I like Android is because they don't lock down the phone to only what they want you to have. Right now a mac can get an app wherever the user pleases. If this changes, I will never buy a mac. If I have to get a mac app from the mac app store than Apple has gone too far. 
   
    A Mac is a full-size computer, and you should be able to to what you want with it. Anything else should be against the law. A lock-down is only a little bit more excusable on a smartphone. The Mac App Store is restricted to its iOS counterpart's standards, but I have other choices. The internet is at my disposal. Should Apple make the Mac App Store the only choice for apps... they will have committed suicide.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Small Chrome Dev Feature That Deserves Praise

    Chrome has many features that just driving up its user base. Many of the features like raw speed and cunning good looks attract people (like me) to start using it, but the many small features it hides keep us coming back for more. Chrome has released a new feature (in the developer/beta version) a few months back that I have found be very useful.
    The awesome feature is called click to play. All it does is stop a plug-in like flash from loading until you click on it. It has made me realize how ubiquitous flash is on the internet as well as many useful features. Before using the experiment flash would run in the background and hog 20% of my CPU even at idle. With plug-ins blocked my pages load faster and my laptop doesn't burn a hole in my leg. 
    
    As I mentioned before, this is only available on the dev/beta channels of Chrome. It isn't just a simple setting either. You'll find it, along with other Google Labs, in the about:flags tab. After that you just enable it and head over into setting to set the plug-ins to click to play.
     

Friday, February 4, 2011

The iPad Is Starting To Show Its Age

     What a magical and revolutionary device it has been. It has carved a new market for others to follow, and ultimately paved the way for the future of the tablet. The one thing we must remember about it and Apple in general is that it is approaching its first birthday. That means that it's about time for the iPad 2. We can expect it sometime around April, but what does it need to feature?
    With the slew of awesome tablets at CES 2011 the iPad needs to tremendously up its game in order to compete with the big names. First of all, I would like to see a nice boost in the processor to something similar in the dual-core family. Along with the processor the RAM needs to get a kick up to around 1GB. This would make flash purr like a kitten, but Apple and Adobe don't mix.

    A feature the iPad has been soarly lacking from day one is that camera. Nearly all of today's tablets have a front and rear camera. I can't even think of tablet that is lacking in this area. It's time to bring the iPad into some of that facetime action. The camera would probably be on par with that of the iPod Touch meaning HD video, but terrible still photos. Who would replace a point-and-shoot with a clumsy iPad anyway?

    With the recent debut of multitasking gestures in iOS 4.3 beta it seems to me that the next-gen iPad could be ditching the home button for less orientation confusion. The software still needs a bit of tweaking to optiize it for the giant screen, but Apple is likely to drag its giant feet with this one. While we're dreaming, it would also be nice to see some type of removable storage. Apple, it's time to stand up to Honeycomb.

Motorola And Their Petty Lies

    You can file this one under the nit-pick section. On Motorola's website, it lists the Xoom as being the first tablet with a dual-core processor. Ha. I thought that it might be the first one to ship with a dual-core processor, bu even that wasn't right. Notion Ink and Viewsonic have beat them to the punch. The Xoom is still the best tablet around.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Apple is Always a Reference for Comparisons

    When talking about a new product in a review, a description, or just general chatter it is inevitable that someone will compare said new product to a similar item from the big company. It's very easy to do, and very hard to avoid doing. I try not to do it myself, but my attempts are always futile in the end. But why do we do it?
    Apple is a very large company which means that everybody has heard of it. They get press coverage galore from blogs all the way up to national television. The average Joe knows what an iPad is. It makes an explanation much less painful if you can compare it to something familiar. The average consumer doesn't really know an iPad from an HP Touchsmart so anything helps. 

    Being the giant that it is, Apple is also the company to beat. I can't count the number of times I've seen the phrase "iPhone/iPad killer". You could sell one million toothpicks for five dollars a pop if Steve Jobs endorsed it. Android just started to overtake Apple in the smartphone area. The next step is the tablet area. Apple creates a niche, and then everybody else wants a piece of the cake. That's what's happening with tablet market right now. 

    I don't have a problem with Apple, but I do get very sick of everything getting the fruit comparison treatment. I will continue to do as will the rest of the world. They are the third largest computer manufacturer for a reason.