Tag Archives: Software

Early-access app teases Star Wars Blu-ray set


We’re a little more than a month away from the arrival of “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” on Blu-ray, and Lucasfilm is continuing the recent Comic-Con buzz by offering the most detailed sneak peak of the set to date with Star Wars Blu-ray: Early Access App.

September 16 will bring the nine-disc Blu-ray set to store shelves, and Lucasfilm publicity poobahs have effectively been hyping the set since CES in January. Most recently, they made a buzz at Comic-Con by unveiling a trailer of the restored deleted scenes included in the set.

The free early-access app for
iPad, and
iPod Touch offers an early look at the more than 40 hours of bonus footage and other material included in the Blu-ray collection. The app gives Force devotees peeks at matte paintings and concept art; prop, maquette, and costume turnarounds; supplementary interviews with cast and crew and other feature previews.

Related stories
? ‘Star Wars’ Blu-ray launch upped to September 16
? ‘Star Wars’ 3D coming to theaters in early 2012

The anti-George Lucas crowd likes to go on about how he continually finds ways to repackage the Star Wars series to keep making money, but this seemingly very thorough box set seems a worthy effort. These movies had to join the Blu-ray generation, and–if this app is an indication–Lucasfilm is giving the store away with the 40-plus hours of bonus items.

The only remaining question I have is which diehard fans reading Star Wars Blu-ray updates will be the first to sit for the better part of two days watching every minute of the bonus items straight on through until they see the sun again?

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20088990-1/early-access-app-teases-star-wars-blu-ray-set/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Verizon pushes update to Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

Josh P. Miller/CNET)

Verizon Wireless announced today that a new software update is available for its Motorola Xoom
tablet. The biggest wins from the HTJ85 update are microSD card support and a screen scaling compatibility mode, but users should appreciate the smaller features as well.

With a microSD card you’ll now be able to use the file manager to view files stored on the card and write content to the card through a PC or
Mac connection. Considering that file managers aren’t consistent across all
Android devices, we’re glad to see more user accessibility here.

The new screen-scaling option will let you switch to double pixels mode for selected applications and then save the settings you prefer.

Other additions (PDF) include adaptive streaming support for movies (the bit rate will adjust according to your bandwidth), stability improvements to the movie rental experience, automatic screen resizing with an HDMI connection, enhancements to Exchange ActiveSync and security, and a new feature for password recovery.

The update will go out over the air during the next few days, but you can initiate the download yourself in the Settings menu. Verizon’s online instructions (PDF) will tell you how.

Article source: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-20088935-251/verizon-pushes-update-to-motorola-xoom/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Jupiter-bound Legonauts in giant leap for toykind

Lego minifigures of the Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei may colonize Jupiter and their progeny may conquer Earth in the future.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/KSC )

NASA launched its Juno spacecraft today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying three intrepid astronauts toward Jupiter.

The trio embarking on this dangerous five-year mission are only 1.5 inches tall, but their courage is giant. The Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and astronomer Galileo, all in Lego form, left Earth aboard 2.5 million pounds of thrust coming out of an Atlas V rocket for a date with our planet’s biggest brother in 2016.

“The inclusion of the three mini-statues, or figurines, is part of a joint outreach and educational program developed as part of the partnership between NASA and the Lego Group to inspire children to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” NASA said of the plastic pals.

If extraterrestrials abduct the craft, they may puzzle over the minifigures‘ accoutrements. Wildly bearded Jupiter carries lightning bolts to signify his status as a thunder god.

Juno, meanwhile, has a magnifying glass as a sign of her search for truth (apparently she can see right through Jupiter’s cloud disguise). Also-bearded Galileo holds a telescope to honor his observations of the gas giant and its Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which were named for him.

From 3D printers to robot hands to interplanetary explorers, there ain’t nothing Lego can’t do.

I bet they colonize Jupiter and return to Earth and remold humans in their image. Who knows what crop will spring from this space seed?

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20088149-1/jupiter-bound-legonauts-in-giant-leap-for-toykind/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Dialed In 185: We go BlackBerry picking (podcast)

Bonnie is returning an important assignment in Toronto this week so our new colleague in CNET News, Roger Cheng, joins us to talk new BlackBerry phones, prepaid carriers, and
Android rumors. Formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Roger works with Maggie Reardon in New York to cover the wireless industry from all sides. Also in the podcast, I call Jessica by Bonnie’s name, Nicole rules the review roost, and we give Roger a crash course in our weirdness.

Listen now:

Download today’s podcast

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Hands-on with the BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Torch 9810 and 9860
Sprint gets new Bold and Torch
ATT doubles down on BlackBerry with three OS 7 devices
Why you should think twice about buying a new BlackBerry
More from Verizon’s Android roadmap
ATT quietly releases Android-powered Sharp FX Plus
Huawei’s Vision eyes high-end Android market
On Call: What we’d really lose in an ATT-T-Mobile merger
Can prepaid carriers quench consumers’ smartphone thirst?
Prepaid wireless market hits a snag
New iPhone Atlas
Nokia circles back to Symbian with its 500 smartphone
U.S. Cellular gets back to basics with LG Envoy
The major players in mobile payments

Motorola Triumph
Motorola Photon 4G
LG Attune

Article source: http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20088453-85/dialed-in-185-we-go-blackberry-picking-podcast/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Eco Pod waterproof smartphone solution keeps tech dry in wet weather

“I love going to the beach, but I hate getting sand on my iPhone #FirstWorldProblems.”

If that tweet sounds familiar, you’ll want to add the Grace Digital Audio Eco Pod to your shopping list.

The Eco Pod is an outdoor case for your phone or mp3 player that wraps your device in an airtight valve for complete protection from extreme elements. It also comes with a pair of Grace’s Sonar Premium Waterproof Headphones so you can jam without worrying about damaging your gear.

The case features a waterproof IPX7 headset jack that can also pair with any standard 1/8-inch headphone plug while you’re out of the water, and the industrial design has rubber feet surrounding the case that keeps it propped upright while it’s open or closed.

Finally, the clear front panel lets you change tracks, answer a phone call, or send a text message without ever taking it out of the case, and it comes in “construction site yellow” or “cause for alarm orange,” take your pick.

The Grace Digital Audio Eco Pod is available now for $50, a steal considering the included Sonar Premium Waterproof Headphones sell online for $30 alone.

The Eco Pod works great for individual music listening, but if you’re planning a group adventure to the outdoors, Grace Digital Audio also offers the battery-powered Eco Extreme rugged all terrain case with a built-in speaker, on sale for the same price.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20088346-1/eco-pod-waterproof-smartphone-solution-keeps-tech-dry-in-wet-weather/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Hands-on with the BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Torch 9810 and 9860

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 offers some improvements over its predecessor but is it enough?

Bonnie Cha/CNET)

TORONTO–To celebrate the announcement of the new BlackBerry OS 7 devices, RIM put on a special event for BlackBerry fans tonight to come check out the new models. Select media were also invited, and of course, we jumped at the chance to get a closer look at the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, BlackBerry Torch 9810, and BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 because despite all of RIM’s recent woes, we want to see the company succeed and offer compelling and competitive products.

From what we saw tonight, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that these new handsets brings some much-needed hardware and software improvements, and generally speaking, we liked what we saw. The bad news is that there doesn’t seem to be enough there to push it past, or even catch up, to its competitors. To be fair though, we haven’t been able to do a deep dive with OS 7 or these devices, so we won’t deliver a final verdict just yet. For now, here are our first impressions of the three models and be sure to share your thoughts on the phones and BlackBerry OS 7 in the comments section below.

Related links
? ATT doubles down on BlackBerry with three OS 7 devices

? Sprint gets new Bold and Torch
? Why you should think twice about buying a new BlackBerry

BlackBerry Bold 9900

As a former BlackBerry Bold owner, I was particularly interested in this model and at the end of the day, it might be my favorite of the three. The Bold 9900 takes the slate QWERTY design that made the BlackBerry famous and adds a touch screen. The 2.8-inch, 640×480 display looks sharp and feels responsive. The addition of the touch screen is particularly useful when browsing the Web and viewing pictures, since you can now use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to easily zoom in on text and images. Though we never had problems navigating through the BlackBerry interface (which doesn’t change much between OS 6 and OS 7) on a non-touch display, it’s nice now to have the option to simply swipe or tap the screen to complete an action.

The keyboard remains excellent. Similar to previous Bold models, the keyboard has a roomy, wide layout with good-size buttons. They have a slight ridge to them, so they’re easy to press, and it, along with the navigation controls, is also brightly illuminated so it’s easy to type in darker environments.

The general design of the smartphone takes after its predecessor, but RIM says that the Bold 9900 is its thinnest BlackBerry yet at 10.5mm thick. It indeed feels pretty slim and lighter, while still keeping a premium feel with its brushed stainless steel accents and smooth back. BlackBerry loyalists should find a lot to like in this refresh of the Bold.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 hands-on (photos)

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The Torch 9810 also offers some nice improvements, but it doesn’t feel like the most exciting upgrade. Part of the reason why is because the overall design is very similar to the original Torch. It keeps the same shape and portrait slider design and though I understand that you can’t completely change the look of a series, it wouldn’t hurt RIM to shake things up a bit. A fresh paint job doesn’t really cut it. Even worse, I thought the phone didn’t quite have the same premium build as its predecessor and felt more plasticky.

It’s still a very solid phone, and I was happy to see that RIM included a better display. The Torch 9810 features a 3.2-inch, 640×480 touch screen, which isn’t much compared to the competition, but I noticed pixels were less visible and text and images just looked smoother and brighter than before, so that’s appreciated. I was able to quickly navigate through the phone’s menus and launch applications, thanks to the faster 1.2GHz processor and improvements of BlackBerry OS 7.

The slider mechanism used to expose the keyboard is very fluid and strong as the screen locks into place when pushed up. RIM said it made some slight tweaks to the keyboard; more specifically, it’s slightly wider, but I can’t say I noticed a huge difference between this model and the first Torch. Thus, my opinion of the keyboard is the same–it’s generally comfortable and easy to use but users will larger thumbs will need some time to adjust and acclimate. One good thing is that the handset doesn’t feel top heavy with the screen open, so the phone doesn’t feel like it’s going to tip over while you’re typing.

RIM also gave me a demo of the use of augmented reality and the Wikitude app on the Torch 9810, and I have to say it’s pretty cool. Its integration with BBM is probably most interesting for BlackBerry users. Basically with the app and the phone’s magnetic compass, you can point your phone’s camera at a location and see any nearby BBM users and interact with them. If a contact has a personalized avatar, that will even show up on screen. Though augmented reality is certainly nothing new, its integration with BlackBerry-specific features is some of that uniqueness we’re looking for from RIM.

BlackBerry Torch 9810 hands-on (photos)

BlackBerry Torch 9860

RIM’s history of all-touch-screen devices hasn’t exactly been stellar. The BlackBerry Storm 1 and 2 had its fair share of problems, from sluggishness to buggy software to clunky hardware, so I was both a bit weary and anxious to check out the new BlackBerry Torch 9860 and after spending some brief time with it, let’s just say I’m cautiously optimistic.

The Torch 9860 (and its CDMA counterpart, the Torch 9850) features a 3.7-inch touch screen, which is the largest display yet for a BlackBerry. It’s a very clear and bright screen that again, isn’t the sharpest on the block, but still, a very good-looking screen. I watched a couple of video clips, and the images looked smooth and colors were bright. That said, the onscreen keyboard felt pretty cramped, especially in portrait mode. It was hard to type messages at a pretty quick rate without making mistakes.

On the bright side, I have to say that these are some of the fastest BlackBerrys I’ve ever used. The combination of the 1.2GHz processor and BlackBerry OS 7’s Liquid Graphics technology allowed me to easily swipe through the various menus, and apps launched quickly. RIM also touts the fact that OS 7’s Web performance is 40 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 6 and 100 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 5. Personally, I didn’t experience this but there were network connectivity issues at the event. I did notice pages were loading slightly faster than what I’ve seen on BlackBerrys before, but this is something we’ll really have to test once we get a review unit.

BlackBerry Torch 9860 hands-on (photos)

Article source: http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20087676-85/hands-on-with-the-blackberry-bold-9900-blackberry-torch-9810-and-9860/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave