Cell Phone News Galore
Sorry I haven't been around the past couple of weeks - life has been busy! I was out of town on business a couple of weekends ago and had a wedding to go to last weekend. Should be back in action for a while now though!
I've seen a ridiculous amount of cell phone news in the past couple of weeks, hence the headline. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is because we're nearing the holiday season that so many phones are coming out of the woodwork.
Verizon has added a feature to its Android devices much in the vein of what Apple gives iPhone users with Mobile Me. If you lose your phone you can have it play a really loud noise (even if its volume is down) or turn on GPS and track. Like many other phones, it also supports remote wipe. Unlike Apple's Mobile Me, this service is free. Gotta love competition!
HTC has officially unveiled the Desire HD, which was hotly anticipated by some Android fans and looks pretty damn slick. It has a 4.3" screen and an 8MB camera, and the specs are pretty tricked out with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and 768 GB of RAM. Plus, it supports microSD.
When you instead look at the Nokia E7, you can see why Nokia still doesn't have a foothold in America. I feel like their designers are living in 2006 or something. Sure, it has a 4" screen and 8 MP camera, but a phone with an angled slideout keyboard is something you'd see in a movie and seems like it would be cool but practically probably sucks. Also, the software doesn't seem very impressive. If you can't beat Android then why even try? Maybe I'm biased because I've never understood Nokia UIs.
That right there is the rumored Samsung Continuum phone. What's super fascinating about this phone is that it sports not one, but two OLED screens. Why would a phone need two screens? It's actually rather clever - the bottom one is like a news ticker for updates and notifications you can subscribe to and would show up when you put your hand on the device. Aside from being nifty, it'd save you battery life on checking that kind of stuff without firing up the whole main screen.
Last, but not least, two mystery webOS 2.0 devices are rumored to be getting announced this month. I may be the only person who cares about this, but I still love the webOS software and just need better hardware.
Internet Explorer 9
Internet Explorer 9 is on the horizon (like every other Microsoft product, they have to put in 3 years of development time), and some of the upcoming features truly are noteworthy. Apparently, the integration with Windows 7 will be tighter than in IE 8 including the ability to pin websites to your taskbar. What's really cool though is a performance advisor that tells you how much load time each add-on you have tacks on to your clicks. The other features are improvements from Chrome or Firefox: searching within the address bar, new tabs showing you most frequently viewed sites (color coded though), and a more compact interface. In a lot of ways, it looks like a Chrome clone to me; I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Must be surreal for Google since Internet Explorer is the top dog for browsers.
Apple TV is Out
The Apple TV is now available and PC Mag put up a review with plenty of footage of the UI. As you would expect, it's slick and simple like the first generation. In fact, just think of the UI as that one with just some added features. I acknowledge that this is a cool device at $99, but it bothers me that it doesn't have a hard disk. It would be so cool (though I know, impossible) if you could rip Blu-rays and DVDs to it so that it'd be like your traveling media hub. I wonder if the Boxee Box is dead in the water at $200 though it supports 1080p and is more open.
Digg Traffic Down
Anecdotally, the Digg redesign wasn't very well-received, but now we have metrics that traffic has dropped 26%. Despite popular belief, most of that traffic did not go to Reddit. That's a really significant drop and I think there are a couple of really important lessons to learn here. The first lesson is that they didn't have their biggest users test this out. That was stupid - they would've caught the problems in the redesign immediately. Secondly, they added the functionality of following people without including the old Digg - there was no good reason to do that. The experiment alone would've been valuable and it may have even succeeded comparing the two. Instead, they alienated a very loyal user base.
Additionally, it sounds like Kevin Rose may be leaving Digg due to burnout. He said they could've been bought out for $80 million but the board turned it down. Too bad, because they're in a rather precarious position now.
Galaxy Tab and Blackberry Playbook
In tablet news, Digital Trends got some hands on time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and it looks cool. It's funny that the Desire HD is actually more powerful, but the specs aren't bad. I haven't seen pricing information, but I wonder how it'll fare against the iPad now that a lot of tablet enthusiasts have already picked that up.
Music download sales are flat right now, which doesn't seem all that odd to me. It's a pretty mature industry now, how much should it be growing, especially given that the holidays are just around the corner?
Netflix is going to start streaming a bunch of NBC content, including every season of SNL. Given that SNL used to be so much better than it is now, that's pretty big news.
Google wants to replace JPEG with a more efficient format: WebP. If anyone can force a new image standard, it'd probably be Google.
The Super Mario Brothers anniversary was a couple of weeks, so please enjoy this belated bit of anniversary nostalgia. So many memories of being a preteen.
Have a fantastic week!
The Tech Guy 1374
3 hours ago