The rumors have been swirling for months that BlackBerry maker RIM would be launching a tablet device. Today at the RIM developer event, that rumor became reality with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook. This device will sport some serious specs and an all new RIM operating system based on the QNX system.
The PlayBook will run on an ARM Cortex A9 dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and will have a 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen. There will be both HDMI and USB ports, with the former capable of full 1080p output. In the camera department, we're looking at a 3 MP front facing, and 5 MP rear facing sensor. There will be A/B/G/N Wi-Fi, but the PlayBook will be capable of Bluetooth tethering to Blackberrys for internet connections as well.
This new QNX-derived OS will have slick webOS-like app switching, and a WebKit browser with Flash. In teh media department, there will be support for MP3, AAC, and WMA for audio; video support comes in the form of H.264, MPEG, DivX, and WMV. No exact release date or price was given. Just that a launch was expected in the coming weeks. A mention was made of working with developers, so hopefully, we can expect some sort of app ecosystem here.
Acer today is launching a new a lineup of Aspire notebooks geared for entertainment and productivity, including the 3D-ready Aspire 5745DG.
The Aspire 5745DG sports a 15.6-inch 120Hz LCD screen with a 1366x768 resolution and adds Nvidia's 3D Vision technology, which consists of a pair of 3D shutter glasses with a built-in IR receiver. Other features include an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce GT 420M graphics, 500GB hard drive, four USB 2.0 ports, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, media card reader, 1.3MP webcam, and a 9-cell battery.
Also among the handful of new notebooks are three non-3D models, the Aspire AS5642G, AS5745, an AS7745. These range in size from 15.6 inches to 17.3 inches (1600x900) and are powered by Intel's Core i3/i5/i7 processors. All four models include Nvidia's Optimus technology.
Pricing start out at $650, with the 3D-ready AS5745DG available in late October for $1,000.
Microsoft still isn't talking specific release dates for its Windows Phone 7, but plenty of others are. Citing "sources familiar with the software giant's plans," Neowin reports Microsoft will hold several launch events worldwide on October 21 to introduce Redmond's anticipated handset in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Great for Europe, but when will the Windows Phone 7 device land on U.S. shores? According to Windows-centric blogger Paul Thurrott, expect a U.S. launch a couple of weeks later on November 8, or so he's "been told by a very reliable source."
Previous reports suggested that Microsoft was getting ready to launch its handset during a press event on October 11, but now it appears it will be largely unrelated to the Windows Phone, Thurrott says.
Sharp has announced two Android-powered tablet devices with built-in Wi-Fi to go along with a new e-bookstore. The company has chosen the name “Galapagos” for its range of tablet devices, which will include the 5.5-inch “mobile type” and the 10.8-inch “home type” models at launch, and vie for a piece of the e-reader pie (yes, you read that right). Sharp wants to ensure that Galapagos is viewed as an e-reading device that can also perform most of the functions associated with tablets, and not the other way around.
Users will be able to download e-books through an e-bookstore also named Galapagos. Both the e-readers and the e-bookstore will be available in December this year. Sharp expects to offer “approx. 30,000 newspapers, magazines, and books” at the time of launch.
“This new e-bookstore provides an “Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service” (fee-based service) for periodical publications. The most recent editions of newspapers and magazines a user has subscribed to can be delivered and read by the user’s e-book readers. In addition, free trial versions of recommended e-book content can also be delivered to the e-book reader, letting users immediately purchase content of their favor,” the company said in a release.
Electronic Arts has finally ported its Scrabble game over to the Kindle, which also happens to be the first premium app of any kind for Amazon's popular eBook Reader. At $4.99, it's exactly $4.99 more than Shuffled Row and Every Word, two addicting word games in their right, but neither of which offer the full Scrabble experience.
The controls are simple -- just use the directional pad to move around, choose a direction, and type out your word. If you're stuck, or a weenie, you can use the Best Word feature to cheat your way to the highest scoring word possible with your combination of letters.
Unfortunately, Electronic Arts didn't tap into the Kindle's Wi-Fi or 3G functionality, and as such, it's impossible to play against friends remotely. There is a Pass N' Play option, though, which is exactly like it sounds.
Sure, the new iPod Nano has a smaller screen with multi-touch support and a higher pixel density than previous versions, but unlike the 5th gen version it's replacing, the latest Nano doesn't have a built-in camera or recorder. For $35, you can put these features to use by making a headcam to record your outrageous stunts.
All you have to do is plug your old iPod Nano into Rampant's View case and you've got a helmet camera ready to be strapped to your head. For mission critical applications, you can do a lot better, but given the price, we're at least intrigued with what Rampant is offering.
Check out a couple of sample videos of the Rampant View in action here and here.
Acer today announced a handful of revamped TimelineX ultra-thin notebook models built around Intel's Core i3/i5/i7 platform, and none more powerful than the new TimelineX 1830T-68U118.
The newest 1830T boasts an Intel Core i7 680UM (1.46GHz stock, 2.53GHz Turbo Boost) processor and an 11.6-inch LED-backlit HD display. It also comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard drive, and the usual assortment of ports, all packed into a slim design checking in at 11.22 (W) x 8.03 (D) x 1.1 (H) inches.
"Our new Aspire TimelineX 1830T delivers a rare combination of ultra-mobility and superb performance using an Intel Core i7 processor that gives customers enormous capabilities in a highly compact design," said Pete Daily, senior manager of product marketing, Acer notebooks. "Additionally, the rest of the TimelineX line delivers the same sought-after attributes of incredibly long and reliable all-day battery life, slim and sleek designs, and enhanced performance."
Acer also announced the 13.3-inch 3820T, 14-inch 4820T, and 15.6-inch 5820T configurable with Core i3 and i5 processors. Pricing starts at $600 for these models, and $900 for the 1830T.
Spatial will also be providing 3D content through a smartphone app called 3DeeCentral.The app will be available first for Apple devices and then in the Android Marketplace.
“Watch stereo 3D content on your iPhone and iPod touch with Spatial View's 3DeeSlide. It's an easily installed lens holder with Spatial View's lenticular lens technology for high impact viewing of stereo 3D image and video content. Works in portrait and landscape mode and supports touch-through. Available this fall,” reads the official product page.
Having just watched a 3D movie on an iPhone, the Business Insider folks are going gaga over Spatial's glasses-free 3D solution that is “expected to cost under $20.” But as it turns out, this is not the company's first attempt at providing an autostereoscopic 3D experience to iPhone owners. It is also responsible for the woefully bad protective skin called the Wazabee 3DeeShell, which “consists of a two-part durable protective skin and a removable lenticular lens for seeing content in stereo 3D,” and which gives us plenty of reason to remain skeptical.
If your gaming outlet of choice is the PC, then you should take this next story as just one more example of why you should be thankful you choose to kill your spare time on an open platform. According to user reports Sony’s new 3.50 mandatory PS3 firmware update is killing off support for third party USB devices, a move that will no doubt simply convince more users to jailbreak their consoles. The update adds support for 3D Blu-Ray, a report abuse option for PSN, along with the ability to link certain game features to Facebook.
The disabling of USB devices wasn’t mentioned specifically in the patch notes, but Sony did warn users on their website "SCEA does not support continued functionality of counterfeit or unlicensed controllers in system software updates and these devices may cease to function in the future because of system software updates." The PS3 was always the geek’s choice for console gaming since it allowed users to upgrade their own hard drives, and even install Linux. Sony however has slowly been taking back control as the platform matures, and seems to be doing so unapologetically.
So if you download the official Sony update you can watch 3D Blu-Rays, and spam your friends on Facebook. On the other hand if you jailbreak your console you gain access to SNES and Dreamcast emulators. What would you choose? I think I’ll need to find a TI-84 to help me tally up the votes.
Taking shots at Nokia’s ailing smartphone platform Symbian is almost too easy these days, and it would seem another hardware manufacturer is announcing that it wants off the bandwagon in favor of Android. Sony Ericsson has been developing Android based phones for quite some time now, but many were wondering just how much longer they would continue to support more than one mobile OS, and now we know. “We have no plans for the time being to develop any new products to the Symbian Foundation standard or operating system,” Aldo Liguori, a spokesman for the London-based company, said by telephone today. Liguori confirmed remarks made by Chief Technology Officer Jan Uddenfeldt to Swedish technology newspaper Ny Teknik.
Symbian continues to hold onto a tenuous lead in the smartphone market, but its share has declined from 51 percent to just over 41 percent over a one year period. With the loss of Sony and Samsung the Symbian Foundation’s only high profile partner is Nokia who for one reason or another continues to use the OS to power its high end smartphones. To be fair Sony hasn’t formally withdrawn from the Symbian Foundation, but with no new products being planned it sounds more likely this will evolve into a common law divorce, a separation without all the messy paperwork.
Symbian keeps falling into the same category as RIM, powerful but faltering. What would it take for these guys to get back in the game? Let us know what you think after the jump.