Archive for April, 2010
Apple will be launching its fourth-generation iPhone in June. Thanks to an Apple employee who left a prototype in a bar, we’ve seen several photos and videos of the new phone, which could be called “iPhone 4G” (unlikely, given that it’ll still be using AT&T’s 3G network), “iPhone HD,” or something different.
Read on to learn what we know about Apple’s new phone so far.
Earlier today, Microsoft unveiled its new Kin One and Two- social network-heavy phones, exclusively on Verizon Wireless. While the phones’ OS, which resulted from the company’s “Project Pink,” shares its Windows CE 6.0 underpinnings with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7, it has a completely different interface, with an IE6-based browser (from the Zune HD), social media integration throughout, and multitouch support. Notably, it has no support for third-party apps. The Kin series is meant for “social media amplifiers”- teens and early-20s who might not be able to afford or want the complexity of smartphones.
Read on for more info about Kin. More >
Bloomberg reports that Palm is about to put itself up for sale, with offers coming in as early as this week. This is a particularly interesting given that less than a week ago, the smartphone maker’s CEO, Jon Rubinstein, strongly defended Palm’s business plan and ability to turn a profit independently in a Fortune interview. Palm has reportedly hired Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to handle the sale. Dell has opted against a bid, but HTC and Lenovo are said to be interested.
HTC would be a particularly intriguing suitor, since Palm owns a deep array of patents that would help HTC neutralize Apple’s patent infringement lawsuit and give it room to operate much more freely without fear of patent suits from competitors.
Of course, HTC would also gain access to a great smartphone operating system in Palm’s WebOS. Palm OS + HTC hardware? Hmm…tasty.
Earlier today, Apple unveiled its new iPhone OS, version 4.0. The new software will power the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and adds a variety of new features to the mix. Chief among these is a form of multitasking, and other “tentpoles” include an Xbox Live replica called “Gaming Center,” enhanced email support, and more:
- Multitasking on iPhone 3GS
- User-changeable wallpaper (something jailbroken users have enjoyed for years)
- Bluetooth keyboard support (from iPad)
- Spell check (also from iPad)
- Tap-based autofocus for video (not just photos) on 3GS
- 5x digital zoom for camera (why?)
- Enhanced playlist support (on-device playlist creation, nested lists)
- iBooks (from iPad)
- App folders (another jailbreak favorite- you can finally sort multiple apps into folders)
- New mail features (unified inbox for multiple accounts, threaded email, in-app attachment viewing, support for multiple MS Exchange accounts)
- Enterprise enhancements (remote device management, wireless app distribution)
- iAd (Apple’s new mobile advertising system, promising more interactive ads than ever before, 60:40 revenue split with Apple)
- Game Center (Apple’s mobile replica of Xbox Live for iPhone games, including matchmaking, achievements, and leaderboards; will launch sometime later this year (after OS 4 launch))
More details after the break. More >
A leaked HP internal slide details the the company’s upcoming Windows 7-powered iPad competitor, dubbed the HP Slate. The base model will cost $549 and sports an 8.9″ 1024×600 capacitive multitouch display with pen support, a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU, Intel integrated graphics, a video accelerator for 1080p playback, 32 GB storage, and 1 GB RAM. The Slate includes a five-hour, 2-cell battery, an SDXC slot, front- (1.3 MP) and rear-facing (3 MP) cameras, a USB 2.0 slot, a SIM card slot for 3G wireless, and a dock connector (with HDMI video, audio, and power connections). For $599, HP will offer a 64 GB version of the tablet.
While the Slate’s specs suggest it’ll get half of the iPad’s 10-hour rated battery life, it’s a very different device. The iPad uses a smartphone processor and the simplified iPhone OS, while the Slate runs full-blown Windows 7, with an HP TouchSmart interface on top, on a netbook-style Intel Atom platform.
iFixit has followed up on its teardown of the new Apple iPad with an analysis of the chips inside. The Apple A4 CPU inside is a “package on package” design, with 256MB of Samsung SDRAM stacked right on top of the CPU, providing some benefits for both latency and power consumption. The CPU is most likely an ARM Cortex A8 design, paired with a PowerVR SGX 535 GPU– meaning that the iPad’s internals are identical to the iPhone 3GS’, except for a jump in CPU clock speed from 600 MHz to 1 GHz.
Anand compared the iPad to Google’s 1 GHz Snapdragon-powered Nexus One phone, finding the iPad was quicker in some tests. However, the two devices were running different operating systems and the iPad has a much larger battery (which may allow for Apple to more aggressively push performance over battery life), thus limiting the usefulness of the comparison.
For more information on Cortex A8, Snapdragon, and other mobile chipsets, check out the TechAutos Smartphone Processor Guide.
We’ve heard official confirmation that Windows Phone 7 (notice the “Series” is gone) will lack copy-and-paste and that it was an “intentional design decision” because no one actually uses the feature. According to Tweakers.net, however, Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel said that the company’s working on it and will build a “good” implementation for WP7. Here’s what he apparently said during his DevDays Keynote in The Hague:
“We look at this case and we will do the right thing. … We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear.”
It’s still not clear whether copy-and-paste is slated for the initial release of Windows Phone 7, but at least it now seems like Microsoft’s working on it.
Are you wondering why Microsoft’s upcoming mobile operating system is named “Windows Phone 7 Series”? Well, looks like Microsoft is too– the company just announced on its Windows Phone Twitter account that it’s dropping the “Series,” so the OS will now just be called “Windows Phone 7.” Two less syllables to deal with, though still three more than “iPhone.”
A new study by MIT researchers shows that people’s sense of morality can be altered significantly by strong magnets that interfere with neuron activity in a particular part of the brain. Prior studies have found great activity in right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) when people consider moral judgments like evaluating another person’s the intentions, so the researchers decided to disrupted right TPJ activity by “inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp.” This noticeably impaired subjects’ ability to make moral judgments based on others’ behavior (such as someone allowing his girlfriend to cross a bridge he knows is unsafe). The study shows that human morals are quite easily corruptible, but more importantly, it sheds light on how the brain compartmentalizes moral decision making.
Bionic Vision Australia, in collaboration with a team at the University of New South Wales, has unveiled a working prototype of a bionic eye implant. The system uses an eyeglass-mounted camera and pocket image processor that wirelessly transmit the image to a receiver implanted in the eye. The implant is a chip with 98 electrodes that directly stimulate neurons in the eye’s retina, which can restore some vision to people with optical nerve problems like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
The company plans to start clinical trials later this year, with normal patients receiving the implants by 2013.
Full press release after the break.