Want to know why hardware and software makers are putting so much emphasis into the mobile market? It's because the mobile market is a ginormous freight train that keeps picking up passengers along the way. According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and The Economist Group, 22 percent of all adults living in the U.S. own a tablet, 44 percent own a smartphone, and half of them own either one.
The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii might not be the best of friends, but together, the trio own the living room when it comes to gaming. The question is, for how long? Devices like Ouya, a $99 Android console, threaten to whittle away at the big three's userbase, though perhaps the biggest threat will come from cable companies. AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable are all reportedly getting ready to roll out cloud-based gaming service.
At this point, Barnes & Noble isn't fashionably late to the streaming video party, it's just downright late. Better late than never, though, right? Along that line of thinking, B&N today announced its Nook Video service, which will premier sometime this fall. B&N already has movies and TV shows lined up from major studios, including HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, to name a few. The service will also stream select Disney titles, the company said.
In the smartphone arena, you win some and you lose some, as it is with everything in life. Is the iPhone 5 better than Samsung's Galaxy S III, or is the larger Android device the superior smartphone? Part of the answer and subjective and depends entirely on who you ask, but at least one round Apple manages to win against its chief competitor is the display. Our friends at DisplayMate conducted a head-to-head test between these two devices to see which one features the better panel, and not only did the iPhone 5 win, but "it's the best smartphone display we have tested to date," said Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate.
Whether you camped out in line and picked up an iPhone 5 this morning or upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S III instead (or any other smartphone), the stakes are the same for Verizon Wireless customers. In order to qualify for that sweet subsidiary pricing, you have to upchuck your grandfathered unlimited data plan and swallow a relatively new Share Everything plan. But hey, don't worry about it, because as Verizon's Chief Financial Officer explains, "Unlimited is just a word; it doesn't really mean anything."
Forget about making room on your entertainment center for yet another set-top box, Roku's Streaming Stick packs the same functionality into a package that's no bigger than a typical USB flash drive. Roku first unveiled the device at the beginning of the year with a promise to ship it in the second half of 2012 for anywhere from $50 to $100. Making good on that promise, Roku today said its Streaming Stick will be available to purchase in October for $99.99.
HTC and Microsoft just put the Windows Phone 8 community on notice -- the HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S are the devices to beat. What's interesting here isn't that HTC has Microsoft's full blessing -- technically, all Windows Phone manufacturers do -- but that HTC is being allowed to name its next generation smartphones after the platform it's built around. There's no mistaking which OS is running on the show on HTC's devices, whereas less savvy users might not be able to tell you right off the bat what OS Nokia's Lumia 920 is built around.
Samsung is planning to launch its Galaxy Note II device in mid-November with five major carriers, the handset maker announced today. Specific pricing and retail availability is up to each individual carrier to announce at their leisure, but on the bright side, if you've had the Galaxy Note II on your radar, you can go ahead and put it on hour holiday wish list, regardless of whether you're an AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, or U.S. Cellular subscriber.
One of the things we look forward to most when there's a new product launch is the inevitable teardown. Our friends at iFixItare always on the ball, and Amazon'sKindle Fire HD launch is no exception. The product repair site put the Kindle Fire HD (7-inch version) on the operating tablet and tore it open, leaving no part concealed, and discovered that it's not all that difficult to service at home.
Imagine, if you will, a world in which blind loyalty trumps common sense and critical thinking, where the power of marketing and the corporate hype machine are so strong that reasonably intelligent consumers are reduced to social status seeking nitwits on a late night television talk show. Sadly, you don't have to imagine such a place. It already exists, as Jimmy Kimmel proved when his camera crew took to the streets of Los Angeles and handed people an iPhone 4S, and then asking them what they thought of the new iPhone 5 they where holding.