Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sony Tablets Making Their Debut In September

Sony has confirmed a solid release window of (sometime in) September for the new Sony S1 Android tablet, and most likely the new S2 dual screen device.

The Sony Tablet S features a 9.4-inch 1280×800 touch display a NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU processor, Sony Tablet S allows consumers to enjoy the web and their favorite content and applications on its large high-resolution screen. Weighing in at just about 590 grams, it has a unique asymmetric design (curvy form factor) which purportedly allows for hours of comfortable use.

The Sony Tablet S runs on the latest version of Android – version 3.1. This model features front and rear facing cameras that allow for video recording and capturing still images. The device also supports USB (micro A/B) interface and SD card for transferring files and data.

The Sony Tablet S comes complete with a full suite of Sony’s network entertainment services.
  • Sony Entertainment Network Services: Video Unlimited is your ticket to the latest releases from every major movie studio to rent or own. A partial service will be available at launch with full service available in October.
  • PlayStation Certified: Sony Tablet S is the first PlayStation Certified tablet providing out-of-the-box gaming with included favorites Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes. Consumers can also download more classic PSone and PSP game titles online.
  • Reader Store: Access bestsellers, new releases, classics, magazines, comics and more from more than 2 million titles at Reader Store by Sony. The Sony Tablet S’s intuitive reading interface is ideal for on-the-go reading, allowing book lovers to set bookmarks, make highlights and adjust font sizes as they read. A free eBook download is included with the purchase of the device.
  • Personal Space: This free service allows consumers to easily share pictures and videos captured on the Sony Tablet S. Consumers can access albums that were previously uploaded from other devices.

Cross Device Functionality

One rather interesting feature of this device is it's built in compatibility with several of Sony's products including TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and home theater receivers.

The Sony Tablet S allows consumer to “throw” personal pictures and video to DLNA compatible televisions such as BRAVIA with the touch of a button. Users can also throw music to wireless speakers such as Sony’s Homeshare. The Sony Tablet S is equipped with infrared technology and can act as a remote control for multiple home entertainment components such as TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, receivers and more at once. The Sony Tablet S is also compatible with “Media Remote” allowing consumers to control Sony devices, including BRAVIA televisions, through Wi-Fi.

The tablet is available for pre-sale today with the option of a 16 GB and 32 GB model for $499 and $599, respectively – you can find them both in the official Sony store.

Via: Sony Press Release

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TouchPad Hunters Check Your Inbox For 25% Off At HPDirect.Com

For those of you that are still holding out hopes of bagging a $99 HP TouchPad and have recently signed-up for updates from HP the company has sent out a coupon good for 25% off all printers, ink, HP accessories, and PCs starting at or above $599.

So check your inbox you should see an email with a unique coupon code. The code is one time use and valid through the end of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Here are the full details listed in the message:
Dear Customer,

Thank you for your interest in the HP TouchPad and webOS. The overwhelming demand for this product in recent days has made it difficult to fulfill your request at the present time, and we are working to make more available as soon as possible. While we do not yet have specific details, we know it will be at least a few weeks before we have a limited quantity available again. We will keep you informed as we have more specifics that we can communicate, and we encourage you to join the conversation here for the latest information.

In light of this and other recent HP news, we want you to know that we remain committed to you. We will continue to honor our warranties now and in the future. We will continue delivering products that make a difference in your life and we will continue to provide the best possible service to you every day.

We are grateful for your patience and loyalty and to show our gratitude, we are offering you an exclusive one-time opportunity to save an additional amount on all of our products, valid through the end of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, August 31, 2011. You'll save 25% off all printers, ink, HP accessories, and PCs starting at or above $599. To take advantage of this offer, use your unique coupon code ,removed at checkout, and for more information on the details of this offer, please look at the bottom of this email.


Valid for HP Direct ( internet and call center purchases only. Coupon valid while supplies last. Any unused portion will be forfeited. Each coupon code is limited to one usage per customer; one coupon code per checkout. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Non-transferable. Not valid retroactively on previously purchased items. Not valid for any resale activity as defined by HP Direct. Coupons may not be used to purchase gift cards. May not be permitted with certain bundle offers. Products and support acquired by Customer under these Terms are solely for Customer's personal use and not for immediate resale or sub-licensing. Valid on: all printers, ink, toner, paper, HP branded accessories and all the following PCs: g7-1150us, dv6-6126nr, HP Pavilion dv6-3230us, dm4-2050us, dv6-6140us, dm4-2070us, HP Pavilion dv6-3240us, HP Pavilion dv7-4277nr, HP Pavilion dv6-3250us, dv6-6150us, dv7-6175us, HP Pavilion dv6-6091nr NB PC, dv6-6170us, dv7-6195us, dv6-6190us, p7-1020, AiO 200-5250, s5-1060, HPE h8-1010, HPE h8-1020, TS 610-1130f, HPE h8-1032, TS 610-1030f, TS 610-1150f, HPE h8-1041, TS 610-1190f, G7T, DV4T, DM4T, DM4X, DV6T, DV7T, DV6T SELECT EDITION, DV6T QUAD, DV7T QUAD, p7qe, s5xt, h8m, h8t, h8z, h8xt, h8qe, h8 select edition, Omni 100t, Omni 200t, Omni 200xt, Omni 200 Quad, 310z, 610z, 610t, 610xt, 610 Quad, Envy 14, Envy 14 Beats, Envy 17, Envy 17 3D. Not valid on: Friends and Family program, HP Academy and Employee purchase programs, HP Employee Purchase Program, Refurbished products. Not valid on purchases from HP download store ( Offer not combinable with Instant Rebates. For complete coupon conditions, see "Coupon Information" in the "Customer Service" section at

Monday, August 29, 2011

HP TouchPad Owners An Android Dual Boot Option Is Inevitable

The HP TouchPad may not have been all that popular at its original price tag of $499. However once HP announced they were discontinuing the product and dropped the price to $99 they sold like hot cakes. Following the fire sale of the TouchPads geeks everywhere snatched them. After all they are a very capable device.

The ability to grab a very cheap very capable tablet has the Android developer community buzzing with talk of porting its favorite OS to the devices. We love webOS but lets face it Android offers much more potential and who knows where HP and webOS are headed!

Enter the folks over at the CyanogenMod team. They've been working feverishly to port Android to the TouchPad. CyanogenMod has shared a video of its early efforts, which you can see above as well as a statement posted over at RootzWiki.

This build is currently in Alpha stage which means its just on the basics. In fact what you see is just the first boot but the goal is to deliver a firmware that allows dual-booting both webOS and an Android 2.3.X based version of CyanogenMod.

So if its so fresh why unveil it now? CyanogenMod said the move was a "blatant publicity stunt" intended to help it track down more TouchPads. The team said it needs at least four TouchPads because "we have talented and experienced developers who cannot contribute effectively due to a lack of hardware," CyanogenMod said.

If you do decide to donate, however, don't bug the Cyanogen team about when they will deliver a fully Android-ized TouchPad. They have no specific ETA in mind, and no they don't plan to share the code until its fully compiled.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Samsung And Android Dealt Major Blow As Apple Wins Ban In Germany

Both Google's Android operating system and electronics giant Samsung have been dealt a major blow today as Samsung has been banned from selling its Galaxy Tab tablet computers in Germany until at least 9 September following a successful injunction claim by Apple.

A German court handed down the temporary decision stating it it would deliver its full ruling on Sept 9th which just happens to be two days after the end of Germany's IFA Electronics Show.

Apple had been seeking a full European ban on the import and sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab based on claims that the Galaxy Tab and several other Samsung products too closely match those of Apple's. The court is unlikely to expand the ban beyond Germany to other European Union countries but the ruling may open the door for further action and set a bad legal precedent that could hurt not only Samsung but other Android based devices as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

5 Steps To Get Your HP TouchPad Running Again

Previously we covered HP TouchPad charging issues today we are going to give you some tips on how to recover a frozen device.

If your TouchPad isn't working the way you think it should, has stopped responding or perhaps just behaving in a odd manner these 5 tips should help.

  1. Throw all applications off the top of the screen.
  2. Do a reboot, turn your TouchPad completely off and the on again
  3. Trigger a restart (more on this later)
  4. Top off the battery, sounds odd I know but it helps
  5. Your last ditch effort, tether your TouchPad to your computer and do a reinstall of webOS

The first two steps seem pretty obvious and the reasons you'd try them would be just as obvious. Shutting down applications could free up memory or other related issues. Completely shutting down your tablet frees up all your memory and reinitializes some of your services.

Triggering a restart is a bit different, in order to do this you need to press and hold the power button and then press and hold the center (home) button for at least 15seconds. This is best done if the screen isn't responding or if the device isn't powering on. Think of it as a hard reset button, that shuts everything down and forces a hard restart.

Topping off the battery seems like an odd idea. However sometimes the device will go into conservation mode if it thinks there isn't enough battery power and it won't power on. So charge it up for a few hours and try again.

The last step you'll want to take is forcing a re-install of WebOS. For this you'll need to tether your TouchPad to your computer, sign into your WebOS account at HPWebOS.Com/Account. From there you'll need to write down your product number and serial number. After that go to HPWebOS.Com/Rom and click the link to get WebOS Doctor. From there you enter your product and serial numbers and follow the prompts.

If you are still seeing problems you should probably call or contact HP and use their HP webOS Butler Service (866) 945-7256. Its free for the first 90days.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You can Now See The Weather On Google Maps

In yet another step in the evolution process Google announced today that they are adding another great feature to Google Maps, a new layer for weather.

Weather conditions are provide via from and feature current temperatures as well as icons to denote sun, clouds, rain and so on. You can also see cloud coverage, thanks to the U.S. Naval Research Lab. And, if you look closely, you can also tell if it’s day or night around the world by sun and moon icons.

Clicking on the weather icon for a particular city will open an info window with detailed data like current humidity and wind conditions, as well as a forecast for the next four days.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best Buy Tells HP "We Want The TouchPad Gone"

According to a report by AllThingsD BestBuy is so unhappy with their overstock of HP's TouchPad that it has told HP it is unwilling to pay for all the TouchPads taking up expensive space in its stores and warehouses, and wants HP to take them back.

According to the report an unnamed source has seen internal HP reports stating that Best Buy has taken delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has so far managed to sell only 25,000, or less than 10 percent of the units in its inventory. These less than stellar sales numbers of the WebOS based tablet have prompted HP to slash prices on the tablet down to $399 and $499 or $100 off from its release pricing of $499 and $599.

Rich Doherty, head of the Envisioneering Group, stated that sales aren’t only failing to catch on at Best Buy, but also at other retailers, including Wal-Mart, Micro Center and Fry’s. He full expects that we may see the TouchPad bundled alongside HP computers in back-to-school sales or potentially even a further price cut.

My Thoughts:

Sadly had HP had a tablet out late last year or earlier this year before some of the better Android tabs made their way to the market they would have been in a better position. Now however, they put themselves in a really bad up hill climb.
For starters they put out a device that doesn't have the same polish as some of the other offerings. As I mentioned in our hands on review WebOS is great, and will only get better but the fit and finish of the device just isn't there.

Had HP listened to consumers complaints about some of the other devices on the market and followed up with a better device out of the gate they might have had a chance. Add to that the TouchPad is lacking many of the features like hdmi, usb and micro sd slots that are part of the exodus away from Apple and they built their own recipe for disaster.

I applaud HP for what they've done with WebOS I really had hoped the TP would have done better and given a better showing for the new system. The thing is is that most people want something they are familiar with or something that has a competing number of applications. Not something that is going to be limited over the next few years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sony Cuts $50 Off The PS3 Prices Drop To $249

Sony announced today that the company is discounting the price of the PlayStation 3 by $50 in North America and Europe, effective immediately.

Starting today the 160 GB PS3 and the 320GB PS3 will be available for $249 and $299, respectively. In addition, a limited edition inFAMOUS 2 bundle is now available at participating retailers across North America. The bundle retails for $299 and includes a 320 GB PlayStation 3, a copy of inFAMOUS 2 and a 30-day membership to PlayStation Plus.

"The new price will make the PS3 more accessible than ever before, so there’s never been a better time to join PlayStation Nation. We know that while future-proof technology is important to you, content is still king — that’s why we continue to focus on bringing you exclusive “must have” titles that are unmatched by anything else on the market. With games like Resistance 3, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One and one of my personal favorites, Uncharted 3, all on the horizon, there’s a lot of great entertainment in store for you."

The new price is most likely designed to help spur sales of the PS3, which according to sales data provided by analyst group NPD, and released by Microsoft, has trailed behind the Xbox for 13 out of the last 14 months. This move may also help Sony recover some of the bad press and mounting costs associated with the company's infamous PlayStation Network hack. The company said the bill for that would top $140 million.

Apple Now Shipping OS X Lion On Thumb Drives

Starting today Apple has begun shipping thumb drives containing the latest version of their Mac OS X operating system, version 10.7 aka Lion. The drives which cost $69, more than double the price of the downloaded version.

Lion, which debuted July 20, is available as a download directly from Apple's Mac App Store and carries a $29.99 price tag for the digital download of approximately 3.7GB. The thumb drive allows users with no (or limited) internet connectivity to apply the same update. The downside, higher price aside, is that according to Apple, Macs upgraded to Lion with the USB drive cannot be restored in case of emergency using the usual recovery partition, but must re-use the thumb drive to reinstall the OS.

More information about the USB drive is available on Apple's online store.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Steam Launches Beta Trading Program

Simply called Steam Trading, the newly launched beta program allows users to exchange in-game items and gifted game titles between themselves. At launch time the program only supports Team Fortress 2 items and games purchased as gifts in the Steam store, but Valve says they are working with developers to add more games and the company plans to add Portal 2 in-game items to the beta shortly.

Once customers purchase a game as a gift (or receive it as an extra copy), they may trade it for the games or virtual items of other users. Any "unopened" gift is fair game for trading, with no restrictions on territory. Trading a Steam Gift is very similar to sending a gift to someone; just that once it is traded that user can then either trade it again, or open it for themselves. There are no restrictions on territory.

To participate in the beta, users must open the Steam client and select the "Steam Trading Beta" option from the settings menu.

For more details checkout the Steam Trading FAQ's.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Review: Linksys WES610N Entertainment Bridge

In today's connected world it seems like almost every device we own needs an internet connection. Whether it be a TV for streaming videos, a gaming console like the PS3 or Xbox for online gaming, or something else they all want to be online and while some are wireless not all have have made the leap. Enter the Linksys WES610N dual-band Wireless-N entertainment bridge.

With the WES610N you can connect virtually any wired device to wireless network. It provides a high speed dual band connection perfectly optimized for streaming video, sharing music or gaming. Simply plug your wired device into one of the four Ethernet ports, hit the connection button to sync to your router and you are good to go.

The Linksys WES610N is compatible with almost any device you throw at it. Here are just a few devices Linksys mentions.
  • HD Televisions (Sony, Samsung, Vizio, LG, Panasonic)
  • Blu-ray Players (Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic)
  • Game Consoles (Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox)
  • DVRs and Set-top boxes (Tivo, Dish Network, DirecTV)
  • Media Players (Roku, Logitech, Seagate, Iomega, Western Digital)
  • AV Receivers (Denon, Pioneer, Onkyo, Yamaha, Sony )
  • Shared Storage (Western Digital, Iomega, Seagate)
  • Printers (HP, Lexmark, Canon)

The full review!

Wireless networking devices these days are a breeze to setup. I normally don't use the Wi-Fi Protected Setup, instead opting for the old school route but it makes things pushbutton simple so I went ahead and used it this time. I paired the bridge with my Linksys E4200 router and I'm pretty sure this was a match made in heaven. The two devices synced nicely and gave me next to no hassles at all.

Instead of connecting a ton of devices, which I don't really own, I used a secondary PC to test transfer speeds and range. With the PC all the way at the other end of the house I got great signal strength and my file transfer speeds were just about as fast as I could ever ask for.

My overall opinion, for someone with a home entertainment setup  that perhaps has an internet ready TV, blu-ray player and maybe a gaming console that needs a wi-fi connection. The Linksys WES610N is a perfect device. You get four ports, dual band connectivity providing up to 300Mbps speeds, plenty of bandwidth and of course the trusted Linksys name.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Security Researchers, Microsoft Is Offering $250,000 In Prizes In The BlueHat Prize Contest

Today at the Black Hat security conference Microsoft announced the $250,000 Microsoft BlueHat Prize contest specifically for researchers who develop defensive security technologies that deal with entire classes of exploits.

The inaugural Microsoft BlueHat Prize contest challenges security researchers to design a novel runtime mitigation technology designed to prevent the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities. The solution considered to be the most innovative by the Microsoft BlueHat Prize board will be presented the grand prize of US $200,000.

Important information:
  • Entries will be accepted and must be received by email to between August 3rd 2011 to midnight Pacific Time on April 1st 2012.
  • The winning entry will be announced at Black Hat USA 2012.
  • For full details, see rules and regulations.

The Payout!
  • First prize: $200,000 (USD)
  • Second prize: $50,000 (USD)
  • Third prize: MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000 (USD)

For more details checkout Microsoft's press release and the BlueHat Prize website

Amazon Now Offering Free Subscription to Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine in the Kindle Store

Amazon has announced that they will be offering a free subscription to the digest edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine is now exclusively available via the Kindle Store.

Kindle owners, or those using the free Kindle reading apps for Android, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, who subscribe will get access to all of the magazine's editorial content - editor's recommendations, "Curiosities" (odd books of enduring interest), film reviews, book reviews, cartoons and humor, and "Coming Attractions" (highlights of each issue) - along with one short story, all at no cost.

"Fantasy & Science Fiction is the definitive magazine of the genre," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. "We know our Kindle customers are huge fans of this category, and we're excited to offer them a free and exclusive subscription to the magazine to read anywhere."

Fantasy & Science Fiction, which publishes six times a year, was founded in 1949 and is the original publisher of classics by a wide variety of great writers, including Stephen King, Daniel Keyes and Kurt Vonnegut. Each bimonthly issue offers compelling short fiction and the science-fiction field's most respected and outspoken opinions on books, films, and science.

A subscription to the extended edition of the magazine, which is also a Kindle exclusive, is available for just $12 a year and includes everything in the digest edition plus several additional short stories and novelettes. Individual issues of the extended edition are available for $2.99.

Monday, August 01, 2011

HP Pushes Out Over-The-Air WebOS Update For TouchPad Owners

Following direct feedback from customers HP has rolled out an over-the-air webOS update for all TouchPads. The update, version 3.0.2, is said to contain hundreds of improvements to the functionality to several core webOS apps as well as increase system performance and stability and addresses a number of bugs.

A few highlights from the hundreds of improvements included in the update:
  • The Email app offers faster scrolling and improved image rendering, as well as improved management of multiple emails in Draft and Outbox views
  • You can now set your wallpaper from photos in the Photos app
  • In the Calendar app, you'll notice improvements in layout, searching for events with Just Type, and more
  • Can't live without "can't"? You'll appreciate enhancements in autocorrection of contractions.
You can find more information about how over-the-air updates work here. More details about the webOS 3.0.2 update can be found here.

The WebOS software comes directly on the heel of the company announcing a $50 install cash back deal. Dropping the price for the TouchPad down to $449 and $549 for the 16 and 32GB version.

As I mentioned in the previous post "hands on the TouchPad" I really like the look and feel of WebOS on a tablet. The operating system is fairly smooth when ran in short sittings. After a few weeks of testing I've noticed several of the bugs other users had mentioned. So hopefully this update will fix some of those.