Tag Archives: Technology. Electronics

Nokia Lumia 920 pricing abroad will have little affect on U.S. cost

Nokia Lumia 920

The Nokia Lumia 920 is Nokia’s next chance to make a global splash.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

High global prices for the Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia 920 are causing a stir for outlets reporting U.S. dollar equivalents ranging from $643 to $860 in Germany, Italy, Russia, and Sweden — but U.S. buyers considering the phone have little cause to worry.

Although international price tags are said to be 10 percent to 25 percent higher than that of high-end rival Samsung Galaxy S3, according to pricing information gathered from German, Italian, and Swedish Web retailers, Nokia’s U.S. pricing is guaranteed to cost less than 50 percent of those fees.

Deals with carriers, which pass along the subsidy to consumers, will keep prices below $300. I’m guessing that we’ll see a $199.99 amount at launch at the highest hen Nokia does announce pricing, the same cost as Samsung’s 16GB Galaxy S3 and the 16GB iPhone 5.

What the comparison does tell us is that we can count on is a steeper fee than the slightly smaller, less premium Nokia 800 before it, which released globally late last year for around $585 (420 euros) at the time.

The U.S., on the other hand, got the larger, LTE-ready Nokia Lumia 900 for just $99 with ATT, an absolute steal to entice curious-but-hesitant buyers to an unfamiliar brand and struggling mobile platform.

One must also consider the build materials and features when thinking about price. However, in this case, Nokia’s Lumia 920 harbors similar components compared to the Galaxy S3. Some materials that legitimately cost a tad more; I’m thinking of the Qi wireless charging capability and the 32GB internal storage space.

Nokia Lumia 920, 820 shine bright (pictures)

Remember, too, that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been globally available since May, so it’s had more time for the price to drop around the world. On Amazon.com, the GS3 sales price fell from $585.00 to $899.00.

Of course, Samsung’s affordable pricing doesn’t help Nokia’s sales pitch, but it does fit the pattern of lowered prices over time.

Nokia’s pricing problem is emblematic of their precarious position overall. They face a challenge getting buyers to accept the Lumia 920 as a premium product deserving of a higher price tag, balanced by the reality that Nokia and Microsoft must still sell dubious customers on Windows Phone over the far more dominant
Android and iOS ecosystems.

CNET has reached out to Nokia for a comment; I’ll update this story pending Nokia’s response.

[Source: Reuters]

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AT&T’s off-contract iPhone 5 can be unlocked with an easy reset

Off-contract ATT iPhone owners can skip waiting for the carrier to unlock their smartphones

(Credit:
Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

One would think that if you bought an
iPhone 5 at full price and off-contract that it would already be unlocked. Apparently, that is only partially correct.

While Verizon sells Apple’s next-generation smartphone at full price already unlocked out of the box, that is apparently not the case with ATT. Usually, ATT customers who opted to pay the full $649 price instead of agreeing to a two-year contract for a subsidized iPhone must follow a lengthy process to get handset unlocked.

Normally, customers have to fill out a Web form, send a fax to ATT, and wait as long as a week for word on whether it will allow the device to be unlocked. Now it appears that unsubsidized ATT iPhones ship factory unlocked and that off-contract customers can save a lot of hassle and time by simply restoring the device in iTunes.

This little bypass was first reported by Tech Crunch, which says it confirmed the process with ATT technical support and successfully reset an iPhone 5 with a T-Mobile SIM card, getting the usual unlock message: “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”

iPhone users can confirm the unlock by swapping in another GSM-compatible SIM card, TC’s Romain Dillet explained:

After receiving the notification my new iPhone was unlocked, I cut a micro-SIM card into the shape of a nano-SIM by using the ATT SIM card that was already in the iPhone 5 as a guide. The most difficult part was to make it narrower so that you can close the tiny nano-SIM tray, though some have reported that this step may be optional. In a couple of seconds, the iPhone was able to pick up the T-Mobile network, and calls and EDGE data connectivity worked as expected.

CNET has not had the opportunity to independently verify that the reset process unlocks the phone, but the iTunes reset is necessary during an ATT-approved unlock as well. It’s unknown why ATT would make customers go through the trouble of filing a request with the carrier when it could easily perform the process itself, or post the instructions online.

CNET has contacted ATT for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

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Rumor Has It: Will iOS 6 get a real Google Maps app soon (please)?

If you had trouble finding this post, that’s probably because you were using Apple’s new Maps app. With the release of
iOS 6, Apple replaced the awesome Google Maps with an app of its own. The result? A lot of frustrated, lost
iPhone users.

Also this week, we check out a rumor that the
Wii U will be region-locked, just like all the previous Nintendo consoles, and Nuance may be developing software that will allow you to wake up your phone by yelling at it. Great, just what we need.

Thanks for watching!

Heard a tech rumor you think we should cover? Leave a comment below; ; send us a tweet (@EmilyDreyfuss, @karynelevy, and @CNETRumorShow); or call and leave us a voice mail at 1-800-750-CNET.

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The dock is dead: Best wireless speakers for the iPhone

iPhone 5 wireless accessories

Bluetooth speakers, AirPlay speakers, Sonos, and Apple TV are some of the excellent — and totally wireless — alternatives to old-school speaker docks, which don’t work with the iPhone 5.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

Since Apple’s iPhone 5 became official on September 12, it’s been an emotional roller coaster for tech enthusiasts. There have been plenty of highs –It’s so light! It’s got 4G! Beautiful screen! — but they’ve been tempered with some disappointing lows, too.

On the software side, Apple’s decision to move to a Google-free maps app has been the biggest sticking point. On the hardware front, there’s still grumbling about the death of the venerable 30-pin dock port, which has been a mainstay of
iPhone (and
iPod) design since the early days.

For many, the transition from 30-pin to Lightning has meant an express trip through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and even depression. But now that the iPhone 5 is here, it’s time for acceptance — let’s make the best of this.

Yes, your old 30-pin Apple docks and cables are no longer going to work with your shiny new iPhone. But wasn’t it annoying to have to keep walking over to that speaker dock when you wanted to change songs, or switch to a different app? That’s where wireless audio trumps all. Connect to a wireless speaker, and you can keep your iPhone where you want it — in your hand. Use it as a remote to choose the music you want to hear.

Thankfully, there are several technologies to help you out, including Bluetooth and AirPlay. We list the best options below. Just make sure to pick up an extra Lightning cable, though, because these work great for streaming audio, but you’ll still need to plug in your iPhone to recharge it, of course.

Note: all of the items listed below work with all iPhone models, not just the iPhone 5. Compatibility with iPad, iPod Touch, and even
Android phones is listed where applicable.

The Bluetooth-enabled Soundfreaq Sound Kick has a rechargeable battery and retails for less than $125.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

Bluetooth speakers: Bluetooth is the go-to option for anyone looking for a (usually) cheap and easy wireless speaker. Bluetooth speakers are ideal for households that aren’t strictly Apple-centric, since they work with all nearly all smartphones (Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) and many Android tablets, as well as all iPhones, iPads, and all iPod Touch models (except for the first-gen Touch). The only real downside is that audio fidelity is often a step down from the non-Bluetooth options listed below (but still much better than Bluetooth audio devices sounded just a couple of years ago). Note that many (but not all) Bluetooth speakers are designed with rechargeable batteries, so they can be moved from room to room with ease. Travel models are even smaller, and often include speakerphone functionality as well.

Shown above: Read the CNET review of the Soundfreaq Sound Kick

Check out best portable Bluetooth speakers under $100

The Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver can be had for $25, and turns any stereo into a Bluetooth receiver.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

Bluetooth dongles: It’s a little-known fact to many people that you can turn any stereo, boombox, or even an old pair of PC speakers into a wireless audio system. Just add a Bluetooth adapter. Two of our favorites are available for $30 or less.

Read the CNET review of the Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver ($25)

Read the CNET review of the Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter r ($30)

The Logitech UE Air, pictured above, covers all the bases — it has the old 30-pin dock, but it’s also AirPlay compatible.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

AirPlay speakers and receivers: Bluetooth is compatible with almost every mobile device, but AirPlay is strictly Apple — and thus only compatible with iOS devices, Macs, and Windows PCs running iTunes. AirPlay-compatible speakers and AV receivers connect to the source device via Wi-Fi, where tapping an icon allows any audio to stream effortlessly. The sound quality is generally better than the Bluetooth devices mentioned above, but most AirPlay-compatible audio products cost more, too.

Shown above: Read the CNET review of the Logitech UE Air

How to get started with Apple AirPlay

Use your iPhone as a remote with the Sonos Play:3.

(Credit:
Sonos)

Sonos: The Sonos family of products is in a category of its own. Designed from the ground up as a multi-room audio system, Sonos products use a proprietary wireless mesh network to communicate among one another. Rather than streaming audio from the iPhone (or iPad or iPod Touch), Sonos instead uses those devices (as well as Android phones) as a remote control. The audio source instead comes from “the cloud” — Sonos works with nearly every service out there, including Mog, Pandora, Spotify, Sirius XM, Last.fm, Slacker, Rdio, Songza, TuneIn Radio, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, Wolfgang’s Vault, Aupeo, and Stitcher — and it can also pull your iTunes library from a networked PC, Mac, or NAS drive. Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with iTunes Match, but it will work with Amazon’s similar Cloud Player — if you want to take the time and effort to move your music collection there. Prices range from $299 for the Play:3 (with built-in speaker) to $499 for the Connect:Amp (add your own speakers).

Shown above: Read the CNET review of the Sonos Play:3

Read the CNET review of the Sonos Play:5

Read the CNET review of the Sonos Connect:Amp

The Apple TV delivers both audio and video streaming via AirPlay.

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

Apple TV: OK, this is not a speaker, nor (really) an audio device. But it deserves mention here because it’s just $99, and it’s the only product that can handle AirPlay video (mirroring some video apps from the iPad and iPhone, and all desktop video from 2011 and 2012 MacBooks). Of course, it also handles audio streaming from those devices as well. So, if your Apple TV is connected to an AV receiver or a TV, you can send any iPhone audio to the big speakers in your living room. (You could also connect a pair of powered speakers, so long as it has an optical audio input, such as the Audyssey Media Speakers). Alternately, you could go with the Apple AirPort Express — that $99 product doubles as a router, wireless bridge, and print server, but it won’t stream video.

Read the CNET’s Apple TV review

Read the CNET’s AirPort Express review

(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

The kitchen sink: Sony’s STR-DN1030 AV receiver: Don’t want to have to choose between Bluetooth, AirPlay, or Wi-Fi? Sony has a perfect solution with the STR-DN1030 AV receiver. This puppy has all three wireless technologies built-in, so you can mix and match as you see fit. It’s also an excellent all-around AV receiver.

Read the CNET review of the Sony STR-DN1030

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24-karat iPhone 5: Bite the golden Apple

Gold iPhone 5

Oh, that’s not tacky at all.

(Credit:
Gold Co.)

Sometimes an iPhone isn’t enough on its own. You need it to stand out. You need for everyone around you to know you have more money than sense. That’s when you buy a gold-plated
iPhone 5.

Gold Co. of London is here for you. You’ll have to travel to the Collector’s Palace at the Dubai Mall, but that shouldn’t be a problem since you have a private jet. Your new iPhone 5 will be available gaudily covered in your choice of 24-karat gold or rose gold.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but it’s probably safe to say that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. This phone will likely appeal to people who already dropped $9.4 million on a gold and diamond-studded iPhone 4S and are now looking to upgrade to the latest model.

This leads me to wonder, what happens when one of these bling’ed-out iPhones becomes old technology? Does the owner dump it in the recycle bin at Best Buy? or melt it down to recover the gold? Maybe they end up in desk drawers, languishing unused for years to come like most regular cell phones. I’d sure like to see the Gazelle buy-back price for an obsolete gold iPhone.

Gold iPhone 5 set

Now the iPhone 5 comes in white, black, or gold.

(Credit:
Gold Co.)

(Via Luxury Launches)

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Sony’s svelte external battery looks like a smartphone

Sony’s latest portable battery doesn’t skimp on style, and offers a full-size USB port (or two).

(Credit:
Sony)

When you absolutely need to make sure your main squeeze — your smartphone or
tablet, that is — can stay powered when away from a wall outlet, a seemingly never-ending number of external battery options exist.

Few of the chargers, however, look as sleek as the half-inch thick Sony CycleEnergy external battery announced today, featuring lithium ion flavors in either 3,500 or 7,000mAh capacities. The slim aluminum frame weighs up to 6.9 ounces and sports a design that probably makes it easy to bundle along with a phone.

As for stats, related documents state that the 3,500mAh (CP-F1L) external battery can provide about a full charge and a half for most smartphones, while the behemoth 7,000mAh (CP-F2L, with two full-size USB ports) offers about three full charges on the go. A related press release notes that the Xperia acro HD smartphone gained a full charge in about two hours from this portable battery, mostly due to the high amperage USB output.

Charging the largest version of this slick battery through an outlet takes seven and a half hours, while the smaller capacity takes around four hours to reach the max (there is an option for USB charging, too, but that takes double the time). Sony plans to introduce this portable charger to Japan on November 14, ranging from 5,000 yen ($64) for the CP-F1L and 7,000 yen ($89) for the CP-F2L. No word yet on U.S. availability.


This battery uses a new laminate technology by Sony for increased thinness.

(Credit:
Sony)

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