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Apple iPad Mini configurations and prices revealed

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Prices for various memory and wireless combinations for the unannounced tablet allegedly depicted in screenshot from European retail giant’s inventory system.

Apple has not yet even acknowledged the existence of the iPad Mini, but pricing and configuration information for the much-rumored tablet is allegedly already appearing in the inventory system of a consumer electronics giant.

The iPad Mini will come in 16 different memory and wireless configurations, according to an inventory system screenshot obtained by MobileGeeks. The screen capture allegedly comes from the internal inventory system of Media Market, Europe’s largest electronics retailer.

The page — in German — lists pricing for various configurations in euros, presumably with Europe’s 19 percent value-added tax already factored into the price. Prices will start at 249 euros ($322) for a Wi-Fi-only 8GB iPad Mini, with other memory configurations of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB also available. The high-end 64GB cellular version is listed at about $650, presumably with 4G LTE capability.

iPad Mini rumors have been swirling for months, with various sources reporting that the device will feature a 7.85-inch display and go on sale for a price that’s far cheaper than Apple’s current, larger tablet.

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Apple has reportedly already begun mass production of the new tablet, which is expected to be introduced on October 23. However, one Asia news outlet reports that production issues will delay its debut .

Apple has reportedly ordered 10 million units of the unannounced tablet for the fourth quarter, roughly twice what Amazon reportedly ordered for the Kindle Fire for the same quarter.

Google updates Flight Search travel site for Android tablets and iPad

Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Flight Search shows you a map of how much flying to different cities will cost.
Google announced an update to its Flight Search service for booking travel that’s now available for Android tablets such as Google’s own Nexus 7 and the iPad.

Noting a big increase in the percentage of people using tablets to not only search for, but make their travel purchases, Google today announced an update to Flight Search.

A study by Telemetrics found that 46% of all U.S. tablet users who search for travel also purchase travel services on the device.

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“We also know that people use their tablets differently than they use their desktop,” said Google’s Rani Manoharan, a user interface designer, in a post at Google’s ITA travel blog. “That’s why we’ve optimized our Flight Search experience for those who prefer to search with a tablet android, such as a Nexus 7 or an Ipad.”

Among other features, the Flight Search service presents you with a map of the U.S. showing major cities with a price next to each showing how much it would cost to fly there from your current location. Touch a city to start the reservation process.

“With the touch of your finger, you can easily explore places to visit on the map and see prices updated in real-time for each destination,” said Manoharan.

New Signature Phone for WIndows Phone 8: HTC 8X

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Next month, when Microsoft launches its next-generation phone operating system, Windows Phone 8, the signature phone will be HTC’s 8X. The colorful 4.3-inch model, along with 4-inch HTC 8S and Nokia’s recently-announced Lumia 920, makes the type of bold design statement that Windows Phone should have made when it launched two years ago.

HTC 8X

On looks alone, the 8X is a winner. The gently curved unibody design comes in four eye-popping colors, which are mirrored by the color scheme in the Windows Phone operating system, and the 1280×720 super LCD 2 display looked ultra-crisp at 342 ppi (versus the iPhone 5’s 326 ppi display) and is protected by Gorilla Glass.The 8X also feels great in my hand, with its rounded bottom and soft-touch finish.

Spec-wise, the 8X competes with Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, with its 1.5GHz dual-core processor, access to 4G LTE networks and dual-band Wi-Fi. In fact, the 8X and Galaxy S3 use the same Qualcomm S4 processor.

The 8MP camera, with its f/2.0 28mm lens, is the same one HTC put in its One X, One S and EVO 4G LTE which in our testing delivered excellent quality. In fact, it’s as good as, if not better, than the Galaxy S3 and should hold its own with the iPhone 5 too. The 8X also gets an impressive 2.1MP front-facing camera that has a wide-angle lens, records at 1080p and accesses the same dedicated imaging chip.

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The HTC 8X will come with built-in amplifiers and Beats Audio for bigger and better sound. And, it will have NFC (Near Field Communication) for sharing phone to phone and mobile payments, among other applications—something iPhone 5 doesn’t have.

What the 8X lacks is an Micro SD slot to expand memory beyond the built-in 16GB, a removable battery and Bluetooth 4, the low-power variant that’s cropping up in a variety of peripherals.

In all, the 8X gives a promising and competitive start to Windows Phone 8. It will be available in November on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Top 7 Games Like CityVille

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Games Like CityVille

Looking for casual social city-building games like CityVille? Well, if you love dabbling in some simulation fun then you’ve landed at the right spot. Here you’ll be bombarded with 7 great options that will help keep boredom at bay. What’s more, you’ll also be able to find tantalizing titles that are not only present on Facebook but on other platforms as well. Besides just constructing buildings on the social network site, you can also have some virtual fun via your PC or portable gadget. So if you’re all set to embark on an exciting adventure, put on your hardhat and read on.

1 – Farmville:

Farmville

Get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and head straight to the rural areas in Farmville. If you love the Harvest Moon games, then you’ll surly want to try your hand at this title. Virtual farm management involves growing and harvesting crops, planting seeds, plowing land, raising livestock and harvesting all kinds of bushes and trees.

You can also care and rear adorable farm animals as well as engage in activities like collecting eggs from the chicken coop and milking the cows. You can even show your love for your Facebook friends and family by giving them goodies for their own online farm. Ever since the game launched in June 2009, members of the social networking site have been putting on their straw hat and hitting the online fields with a song on their lips and a mouse in their hand.

2 – SimCity Social:

SimCity Social

From the tranquil fields of Farmville, we now move back to the city with the mention of SimCity Social. The exciting SimCity series has captured the fancy of gamers more than 2 decades ago. Developed by Will Wright, the city-building fun has been extended to different editions throughout the years.

This time around, we take a closer look at SimCity Social, the Facebook gem. This entrant in our games similar to CityVille roster enables you to develop sprawling cities and watch them come to life as a result of your decisions.

3 – City of Wonder:

City of Wonder

While CityVille allows you to create just a metropolis, City of Wonder lets you to build a whole civilization altogether. Intrigued by the ancient Egyptians or Romans? Well, you can experience the highs and lows of being responsible for a flourishing empire right here. Help your civilization move from the Stone Age era into the Modern Age. And in order to do so, you must sail to distant lands, trade with foreigners, battle other nations and capture scientific knowledge and technology. You can even level up as the game progresses. City of Wonder is now available on Facebook and Google+.

4 – Build-in-Time:

Build-in-Time

If you like exploring gems that scream ‘blast from the past,’ then you’ll surely want to check out Build-in-Time. A complete treat for PC and Mac owners, this title takes you to the 1950s where you must see the American civilization race through to the 21st century. Relive 6 decades of history by building businesses and homes from scratch.

You must also create accommodation for hippies and starlets to reside. You can further avail of upgrades like pirate ships and observatories. The time management quest title in our CityVille alternatives lineup even offers you a Click Assist feature to aid you in all your building endeavors.

5 – Millionaire City:

Millionaire City

Ever dreamt of being a millionaire? Well, you can now live out your fantasy in Millionaire City, virtually of course. Aim to become a powerhouse CEO and build your ideal city. You have the liberty to erect commercial skyscrapers, luxurious houses, world wonders and beautiful decorations. But in order to build a successful metropolis, you must take risks, make smart investments and take personal care of your properties.

Live life in the fast lane and earn riches beyond your wildest imagination by completing missions and collecting rent from your friends. This game can be enjoyed online, via Android-powered devices and Facebook.

6 – My Town:

My Town

Here’s another great inclusion in our games similar to CityVille array which allows you to build your very own settlement. But instead of a city, My Town offers you a town that you can build from ground up. You can bring along all your friends and even visit their towns and see how they’ve shaped up. Endow your creation with a special charm which will make it a one-in-a-million creation. My Town 2 also makes its way to iOS devices porting along loads of new free features. You can build awesome towns by littering them with places that are plucked right out of the real world. Place clothing stores, restaurants and cafes all over your ideal town, while on the go.

7 – Virtual City:

Virtual City

Indulge in an innovative city simulator known as Virtual City directly through your Android-powered handset or tablet. So whether you’re stuck at the airport lounge due to a late flight or simply lazing around at home, you can build up your very own settlement. You are called to take on the role of mayor and manage the whole show. You’ll get to explore 5 US states namely, New York, Michigan, Colorado, Montana and California. You must also perfectly balance elements like income, time, population, environment and happiness. According to the developer G5 Entertainment, you can take advantage of 50 challenging levels, more than 50 building types, 18 distinct mission scenarios, 16 special achievements and 25 types of goods to transport.

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Conclusion:

Besides staying in touch with loved ones, social butterflies can use Facebook to dive right into the addictive games offered there. One gem among the lot is a title called CityVille. It allows players to create and run their perfect city. They start small by growing crops and supplying goods to nearby shops and collecting rent from the houses they own.

Now, all those who want to take a break from this particular title and explore other similar options scattered out there, can choose from any of our aforementioned games like CityVille. After trying them all, do punch in the names of the titles that caught your fancy.

Nokia exclusive Weather Channel App available in more countries now

Friday, August 24th, 2012
Screen-Capture-13 Screen-Capture-14 Screen-Capture-15

qrcodewcWindowsPhoneApps.es reports that Nokia’s exclusive version of the Weather Channel app is now available in more locations besides US and UK, including Spain.

The app, which features the usual weather forecasts and radar images, also features an exclusive augmented reality feature, where users are able to see pictures uploaded by other users of local weather.

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The app is free for Nokia Lumia users.

Sony Plan to Bring Playstation Vita OS to Tablets and Mobile Phones

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Sony is going through some changes in its upper management with Kazuo Hirai stepping in as their new President and CEO. During a Q&A in Japan AV Watch reports that Hirai was not shy about pointing out that the Playstation Vita OS has more potential than just gaming, that it is in fact a mobile OS.

Av Watch also quoted Senior Vice President Yoshio Matsumoto saying, “if you’re asking if we’ve made [the Vita OS] in a way that’s expandable, so that it’s possible to apply to smartphones and tablets on top of achieving the high responsiveness we need for gaming devices — it is possible,” he did carry on to say “that doesn’t mean that we’re applying it to smartphones and tablets at this point in time, but it’s been designed with expandability in mind.”

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Sony is not stranger to competing in the Android handset race as their Xperia line up is focused on gaming. However, the line up has not achieved the success the company would have hoped for with Sony Ericsson posting a €247 million loss (about $325 million) in 2011. If Sony were to look at bring the Vita OS to the handset market, we wonder how it would compare to Windows Phone with its tie into Xbox 360.

Xbox Live range at massive discounts

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Due to renew your Xbox Live Gold membership? OzSave has just reduced prices across its Xbox Live range.

The discounts are pretty impressive, too:

  • Twelve + two months + download code for exclusive Gears of War weapon: AU$40.99 for download renewal, AU$42.99 for new membership (RRP AU$79.95)
  • Twelve + two months + download code for exclusive Modern Warfare 3 avatar: AU$41.99 for download renewal, AU$43.99 for new membership (RRP AU$79.95)
  • Twelve months only: AU$38.99 for download renewal, AU$42.99 for new membership (RRP AU$79.95)
  • Three + one months only: AU$21.99 for download renewal, AU$19.99 for new membership (RRP AU$39.95)
  • Three months only: AU$19.99 for download renewal, AU$17.99 for new membership (RRP AU$39.95).
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We’re not sure whether this is a permanent price drop or just a sale, but those are some pretty fantastic prices, and we recommend that you take advantage.

Google launch Nexus Q for your TV

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Google had a lot of amazing announcements today at their I/O conference. One of the new products the search giant unveiled is their Nexus Q set-top box. The device offers a great amount of features for Android users, however that benefit comes at a fairly steep cost when compared to the Apple TV.

The Nexus Q is a small, sphere that sits by your TV. It has an HDMI port, WiFi, ethernet, NFC and a Bluetooth Chip. It features streaming  from the Google Play Store, and allows users to listen to items bought from the store, at no cost. It also boasts an AirPlay-like feature that allows Android owners to beam content up to their home-theater set-up; as well as the ability for multiple people to share their music to the box. It even lets users stream HD YouTube videos to their televisions (just think of the cute kittens on our TV screen!). And all those features will cost you a cool $299.

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If some of the Nexus Q’s abilities sound familiar, it’s probably because there’s already been a device like this on the market for over a year, and it’s $200 cheaper. In fact, it’s made by Apple and is one of the cheapest iOS gadgets out there. The Apple TV is also a small, streaming-only set-top box that features an HDMI port, WiFi, and ethernet port. Apple’s device also allows you to stream movies from the iTunes Store, stream purchased music (with a paid subscription) and beam content wirelessly.

So what’s the difference? Well, it’s pretty much all a matter of preference. If you’re an Android user, and you want to show all your iOS-toting friends that your phone isn’t just a toy, get the Nexus Q. Your wallet will be in a little more pain, but you’ll get awesome Android-specific features, like the ability to beam content wirelessly from your ‘droid and rent movies from Google Play, right on your cellphone.

However, if you’re an iOS user, your money would be better spent on an Apple TV. The box got updated when the new iPad came out in April, and offers features that are exactly the same as the Nexus Q. Apple is also rumored to start offering apps, further sweetening the deal.

New ABC News iPad app Updated to Fit Your Daily Schedule

Saturday, June 16th, 2012
The new ABC News iPad AppABC News
The new ABC News iPad App

Tablet users are a bit like owls — they are most active at night. Or at least that’s what ABC News has discovered from usage patterns of its iPad app. That finding was the impetus for the new ABC News iPad app, which is being released today in the Apple App Store.

The app has been totally re-imagined based on internal data which showed that iPad users watch significantly more video at night and are more engaged with content from the hours of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“Being the first broadcast news organization to have an iPad app gave us a distinct advantage in crafting our new app,” said Joe Ruffolo, Senior Vice President of ABC News Digital. “We saw that our iPad users were most heavily using the app between 7 and 10 p.m. And with that we decided to enhance the user experience based on what time of the day it is.”

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Since launching its iPad app in July 2010, ABC News has found that app usage peaks in the evening and that users watch 1.5 times more video content and read 20 percent more at that time than other parts of the day. More than 50 percent of all news stories on the iPad are read in the morning or evening.

Data from ComScore, Forrester, and Google confirm similar tablet use patterns. Forrester recently found that 85 percent of tablet owners use tablets while watching TV and Google has reported that search peaks on tablet devices from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

With that tablet activity in mind, the ABC News app now has three editions — the Morning, Midday, and Primetime Editions. The Morning Edition, which is presented from 6 a.m. to noon, is centered on the top headline and a “5 Things To Know This Morning” article by “Good Morning America’s” Josh Elliott. The Midday Edition, offered from noon to 8 p.m., has a tweaked layout and presents headlines, video clips, and feature stories.

The Primetime or Evening Edition offers an entirely different experience, with video front and center. “The video carousel provides more of a lean-back video experience. We know that during this time people are getting comfortable on their couches and have the iPad in their laps,” Ruffolo said.

In addition to the video section, there are featured stories.

Each edition is updated instantaneously with news from ABCNews.com and contains a special section for trending stories, which is based on the popularity of stories and videos on Facebook and Twitter. There’s also a new Lifestyle & Fun section that curates lifestyle and entertainment news. The app also allows for viewing ABC News’ live video feed. The spinning globe that was a part of the original ABC News app is no longer included.

In addition to providing news, the app also provides up-to-the minute weather reports. A weather widget on the top of the screen displays the forecast and current temperature; tap it and you can see the weekly forecast and see the weather in other locations.

All eight ABC-owned TV stations will offer customized editions with added regional and local news, weather, and traffic reports. The KABC-TV Los Angeles iPad app will launch today. WABC-TV in New York, WLS-TVin Chicago, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, KGO-TV in San Francisco, KTRK-TV in Houston, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV in Fresno are scheduled to release their own apps in the next few weeks. Those will be available as separate apps in the App Store.

ABC News’ new iPad app is available today from the Apple App Store for free. If you already have the app, keep an eye out for the update.

Apple Maps App Officially Debuts

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Apple Maps App

Scott Forstall debuted Apple’s Maps app at the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference.

It’s official. Apple Maps app is in and Google Maps is out.

Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS Software, presented the Apple Maps app at the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

“In iOS 6, we have built an entire new mapping solution from the ground up, and it is beautiful,” Forstall said on stage,according to Engadget.

The Apple Maps app is dominated by clearly labeled views worldwide that show everything from cities and major roads to parks and bodies of water. For a more in-depth look — like that of Google Maps — Apple Maps offers a 3D flyover view of cities. Using vector-based maps, users can quickly rotate, and zoom in or out on the iPhone or iPad. Zooming in from the normal Maps feature will automatically bring users into the 3D view.

apple maps app
A birds-eye flyover view of Sydney, Australia in Apple Maps.

Aside from clearly labeled maps that display a birds-eye view of cities, Apple Maps also features local search. Apple has incorporated more than 100 million business listings so users can easily search for establishments in their area. Each listing is well populated with business information ranging from the type of venue to the business hours. Yelp reviews are also fully integrated into the app so users can see the business rating and read reviews.

In terms of navigation, users have three options: they can view their entire route from point A to B, with other optional routes; follow turn-by-turn navigation; or drive a virtual car in a 3D turn-by-turn navigation simulation. In the later, the presentation is extremely clear since buildings appear translucent.

apple maps app
Prominently displayed ETA.

Traffic is monitored in real-time and the estimated time of arrival (ETA) is regularly updated. A re-route option is also offered as a pop-up notification. For iPhone users who have a quick lock option on their phone, Apple Maps also displays the directions on the lock screen.

Not wanting to be left out, Siri is integrated into Apple Maps’ navigation so iPhone users can ask Siri to take them somewhere. Since Siri is also able to search among local businesses, iPhone users can ask Siri to detour them while on their drive to the nearest gas station or bed-and-breakfast.

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Apple is also working on a traffic service that uses real-time information from anonymous users to point drivers toward congestion so they can steer away from it. Red bars indicated traffic slowdowns, whereas construction and reported accidents are depicted by icons.