Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Google Nexus 10

Review: Google Nexus 10

Review: Google Nexus 10
Besides giving you quick access to Gmail and YouTube, the Nexus 10 steers you to digital movies, books and other content available for sale through Google's online Play store.

NEW YORK: When I first turned on Google's new tablet computer, I immediately thought of it as a mere conduit to Google services.

Besides giving you quick access to Gmail and YouTube, the Nexus 10 steers you to digital movies, books and other content available for sale through Google's online Play store.

Because of that, I wasn't thinking of the Nexus 10 as an alternative to Apple's general-purposeiPad - even with a price tag that's $100 cheaper, starting at $399. It took more thought and time with the Nexus to change that perception. After all, apps available for Android smartphones work on the tablet as well.

Still, the Nexus really shines when it comes to media - especially content bought through Google.

For the past year, Google has been trying to challenge Apple and Amazon by selling digital content.

The Play store is Google's version of iTunes for Apple devices. There, you can get a variety of apps, some free and some for a small fee. You can buy or rent movies and obtain books, magazines and music. Google isn't satisfied with building search engines and selling ads. It wants a bigger role in the digital economy.

Over the summer, Google came out with a 7-inch (17.5-centimeter) tablet called the Nexus 7. Just as Apple made an iPad Mini that's about the size of the Nexus 7, Google is now selling a larger version of the Nexus, about the size of Apple's regular iPad. It starts shipping this week.

On the Nexus 10, icons at the bottom of the screen emphasise Google's media products available through Play. Click on a picture of film to watch movies, headphones to listen to music and a book to, well, read books. Another icon gets you to the Play store to obtain more content and apps.

The Nexus has a rubberised back and fits more snuggly on my lap than the metal-backed iPad. In my hands, I don't feel as if the Nexus would slip out and crash on to the hard floor, as I continually do with the iPad.

There are front-facing speakers going up and down both sides of the Nexus, compared with just one tucked in a corner on the back of an iPad. You feel more immersed watching video with sound coming right at you from the entire device. I hadn't considered that a problem on the iPad, but I began to notice it once I played video on the tablets side by side.

The screen measures 10.1 inches (25.6 centimeters) diagonally, which is more than the iPad's 9.7 inches (24.6 centimeters). But the screen isn't any larger because while it's about an inch wider in horizontal mode, it's also about a half-inch less in height. This works well for widescreen content, which completely fills the screen. On the iPad, the latest movies and TV shows often have black bars, no matter how you hold the tablet. In some cases, you might see the sides of video cut off to fit the space, as I did watching this week's episode of "Revenge" on Hulu. Again, I hadn't considered that a problem on the iPad, until I began to notice it.

What makes the tablet's shape good for movies makes it less-than-ideal for magazines, though. There's wasted space on the top and the bottom for magazines on the Nexus. But I watch TV shows and movies online more often than I read magazines digitally, so I'll let it slide.

As for books, text on the Nexus' screen comes out sharp. News sites and apps also look nice. The Nexus has a screen resolution of 300 pixels per inches, slightly better than the 264 ppi for the latest full-size iPad (which itself is far better than the 132 ppi on the older iPad 2 model still available).

True, there are other tablets designed as media players, too. Amazon.com Kindle Fire and Barnes and Barnes & Noble Nook HD come to mind, and both have larger versions out this month. But neither has the diversity of apps available for the Nexus and other full-fledge Android devices (The Kindle and the Nook run on modified versions of Android and restrict apps to what's available through their own online stores).

So what does that mean?

Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone automatically appear on the Nexus 10 after signing in with the same Google account. I'll note that the Nexus 10 is also made by Samsung Electronics, even though it's branded Google.

Three of my apps, for AccuWeather, Citibank and Dunkin' Donuts, aren't compatible for unknown reasons. But those I use most often - Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and a slew of other weather apps - all work on the Nexus. The companion app for the TV show " Dexter" also works, allowing me to play trivia games and watch video clips.

Not all apps have been specifically adapted for the tablet's larger screen, but they take advantage of the entire screen, nonetheless, thanks to the way Android lets software programmers build their apps in modules. All the content gets blown up and still looks decent.

Apple's store has a far wider selection of apps, though, including a half-dozen apps for exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. A search on Play comes up with only one.

The Nexus comes with the latest version of the Android operating system, version 4.2. It introduces a new feature for sharing tablets, the way family members can share Windows and Mac computers while keeping personalized settings. You no longer have to fight with a kid who constantly changes the volume or moves apps around. Now, just sign in as separate users.

The Nexus is a tad lighter, while the iPad promises longer battery life and has an option for cellular broadband for $130 more, plus the cost of data plans. Neither has a slot to expand memory with SD cards. Both have two cameras - 5 megapixels on the back for taking photos and video, and a lower-resolution one on the front for videoconferencing.

The iPad remains king among tablets, with its ease of use, variety of apps and dominance in the market. But challengers such as Google offer choice. The Nexus 10 is a good choice if you already have an Android phone and use a lot of Google services. That's especially true if you also watch a lot of movies and TV shows, but don't want to be limited to that.

iPad Mini: New, thinner, lighter, attractive and excellent, but costly say reviews


iPad Mini: New, thinner, lighter, attractive and excellent, but costly say reviews

The iPad mini is now available in India for a price of Rs. 26,990. This latest product from Apple the iPad Mini has been appraised for its better features but was criticized for its high price tag.
We are consolidating for you what the leading news reports have said about this device. So before you plan to put your hard-earned money in this device read the these review.
Cnet gives it a four star rating and says “If you want the full, polished Apple tablet experience in a smaller package, the iPad Mini is worth the premium price. Otherwise, good alternatives are available for less money.”
Techradar says “… this isn't a shrunken down iPad, it's a whole new product again. Be it the larger screen size, the impressively low weight or the alternative design compared to the competition there's a lot to chew over with the iPad mini – but is it worth spending your hard-earned when more cash will get you a fully-fledged version of Apple's tablet?”
In the Gizmodo news story ’Is the iPad Mini the Beginning of Apple’s Decline?’ Dave Winer writes “I believe it's not only not a winner, but it signals a new Apple that's no longer beyond compare, no longer insisting on delighting its users to the point of orgasm. This Apple is content to be a competitor.”
Engadget says in its review of the device “This isn't just an Apple tablet made to a budget. This isn't just a shrunken-down iPad. This is, in many ways, Apple's best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life…. but whether that's worth the extra cost depends entirely on the size of your budget -- and your proclivity toward Android.”
PCMag gives it four star rating with the remark “excellent” and says “The iPad mini lets you run the best library of apps in the biz on a tablet you'll actually want to carry, but it's not the best small-screen tablet you can buy.” Though “beautifully designed” this mini tablet is “expensive, wide and slippery” says the review.
Eurogamer.net in a review says “The iPad mini is a sweet product at a good price - it makes the £250 fifth-generation iPod Touch look horrifically over-priced for what it offers, especially when you factor in that the A5 runs slower on the smaller unit. Similarly, the notion of paying £329 for a larger, bulkier, less sexy iPad 2 with the same performance level as the mini but with sub-par cameras and slower Wi-Fi seems downright bizarre.”
TheVerge opines “But regardless of market positioning, the iPad mini has to be viewed in a world with a $199 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD — two strong performers that are a far cry, at least in price, from the iPad mini. Even though Apple might want consumers to see these as separate product categories, consumers may only see that $129 gulf.”
T3 review says “The Mini is thinner and lighter, yet has a screen almost an inch bigger than its two main rivals. ...We will say this, though: the iPad Mini is the best iPad Apple has ever created.” 
UberGizmo says “The goal of the iPad mini was to introduce a smaller, more portable iPad which addresses both the size and the absolute price of the device. To date, this is the cheapest iPad, although not remotely the cheapest tablet at all.” The post says “If you don’t care about the budget and like this product, go for it.” But also mentions “ If watching movies, listening to music, basic email and web browsing are your main interests, you could get a much better deal with the Google Nexus 10 tablet ($399+) which obliterates the iPad mini for $70 more, or the Google Nexus 7 ($199) which is comparable to the iPad mini for $120 less. For a mere $20 more than the iPad mini, you can get a larger Asus Transformer TF300 tablet. Finally, you can also check Amazon’s Kindle HD devices, if your life revolves around consuming Amazon services.”
ComputerActive, the UK based fortnightly publication says “The iPad Mini is an attractive tablet thanks to its small size, low weight and sturdy yet sleek build.” The review also mentions the high cost factor of the device and mentions the other tablets are more than good enough for web browsing and enjoying ebooks and videos, but the iPad Mini is more versatile thanks to its huge selection of apps.
TrustedReviews also mentions the high cost of the device in its review “iPad mini is more expensive than its closest rivals, thanks in part to a bushed aluminium back and seamlessly curved edges, the device looks and feels every penny that you pay for it.” In a detailed review report it says “This seemingly seamless design isn’t without a slight gripe, however. When playing a game such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted in which the device needs to be held in a landscape manner, the iPad mini speaker location becomes a cause for concern. …With little area to gain a finger hold, it can prove irritatingly difficult to pick the iPad mini up off of a hard flat surface without having to drag it to the edge.”
The AppleInsider review says “It feels a lot more like a "big iPod touch" than the full sized iPads, but this comes at a cost: the screen is scaled down. Text on the screen is smaller, but interestingly, the title bar and lock screen text and graphics that appear about 60 percent smaller than other iPads is now about identical to the size of those elements on the iPhone.”
In a MacWorld review Dan Frakes “Indeed, in our benchmarks testing, the iPad mini performed identically to the iPad 2 in every test except for our Web page-load test, where the iPad mini bested the iPad 2 by roughly 40 percent—likely because of the aforementioned 5GHz Wi-Fi enhancements in the mini.”
Gottabemobile says “Though relatively heavy full-sized iPad can be uncomfortable to use without support for extended periods gaming or browsing sessions. The iPad mini is much easier to use and handle than its predecessors. This is especially important for apps and games that require moving and shaking the device, such as racing games.”

Samsung Seeks IPhone Ban as Apple Settlement Resisted


Samsung Seeks IPhone Ban as Apple Settlement Resisted

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), told by a federal jury to pay Apple Inc. (AAPL) more than $1 billion for copying the iPhone and iPad, wants another U.S. body to give it leverage to fight back.
The Korean company has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington to reverse a finding by one of its judges that Apple’s devices don’t infringe four Samsung patents. The agency, which can block imports of products found to infringe patents, is scheduled to announce today whether it will review that Sept. 14 decision.
Samsung needs a victory to counteract a series of Apple wins in U.S. courts, as the world’s two largest smartphone makers fight for increased shares of a $219 billion market.
“For Samsung, it’s most important to not lose,” said Alex Spektor, an analyst with Strategy Analytics in Boston, Massachusetts. “I don’t think they need to cripple their competitors as much as they need to make sure every product they sell into the U.S. continues selling because those products have proven very popular.”
The ITC’s power to block products from the U.S. market gives the commission’s ruling more potential economic impact than even the $1 billion jury award Apple won in San Jose, California, in August. Apple’s newest iPhone could contribute as much as one-half a percentage point to U.S. economic growth this quarter, according to an analysis by JPMorgan Chase & Co. released just before the smartphone’s debut in September.

Whole Economy

“Getting a judgment at the ITC means a lot,” said Victor Siber, who was former chief intellectual property counsel for International Business Machines Corp., and is now at Baker Hostetler in New York. “We’re not talking about small numbers. It impacts the whole economy, so they should get it as right as they can.”
Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone maker while Apple dominates in the U.S. In the third quarter, Samsung had a record 28 percent of the U.S. market to Apple’s 34 percent, Spektor said.
Apple has claimed phones running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system, including Samsung’s, copy the look and unique features that have contributed to the iPhone’s popularity since it was first sold in 2007.
Apple settled with Android-handset maker HTC Corp. (2498) this month, striking a 10-year licensing agreement. Apple said Nov. 15 it is negotiating an agreement with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit for binding arbitration of their disputes over how to license patents relating to technical standards all device makers must follow.

No Negotiations

A HTC-like resolution of the Apple-Samsung fight doesn’t appear to be coming anytime soon. Shin Jong Kyun, the head of Samsung’s mobile unit, was quoted in Korean media last week as saying the company wasn’t going to negotiate with Apple.
Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung contends Apple infringes four patents, including two that relate to how phones transmit data. ITC Judge James Gildea said Apple didn’t infringe any of the patents, and that one, for a way to detect movement on a touch-screen, was invalid. The fourth patent in the case is for a way to detect phone numbers in e-mails so they can be dialed or stored in the phone’s contact list.
The case targeted all models of the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the iPad 2, the iPad, and the iPod Touch. Gildea recommended that the ITC issue an import ban of the products if it finds Samsung’s patent rights were violated.
In addition to winning the preliminary round in Samsung’s complaint, Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has been successful so far in its own ITC case against Samsung.

Apple Complaint

Trade Judge Thomas Pender said Oct. 24 that Samsung infringed four Apple patents, including one for the design of the iPhone and one for touch-screen technology co-invented by Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder. The commission is scheduled to announce the next steps in that case on Jan. 9.
Apple’s legal success against Samsung in the U.S. hasn’t been replicated in other nations. In the U.K., Apple was ordered to post a public apology on its website for accusing Samsung of copying a tablet computer design. Samsung also has won non- infringement rulings in The Hague and Tokyo courts.
Samsung has about 140,000 patents worldwide on things like light-emitting diodes, computer-memory chips and televisions. It’s been in the mobile-phone market since the 1980s, and is counting on that history to get an upper hand in its global fight with Apple. It filed its ITC complaint in June 2011.
The iPhone generated $80.5 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, or 51 percent of Apple’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its iPad brought in $32 billion, and the iPod generated $5.6 billion.
Samsung’s case against Apple is In the Matter of Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, 337-794, and Apple’s case against Samsung is In the Matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, 337-796, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

HTC Desire SV available for purchase with online reatiler for Rs. 21,799


HTC Desire SV available for purchase with online reatiler for Rs. 21,799HTC Desire SV available for purchase with online reatiler for Rs. 21,799

HTC recently unveiled its new dual-SIM capable Desire SV smartphone which it said will soon launch in the Indian market. This device is now up for grabs via online retailer Saholic at Rs. 21,799, it will ship in four business days.
The Desire SV is a dual-SIM capable Android 4.0 ICS based smartphone which is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and 768MB of RAM. The device also features a 4.3-inch WVGA SLCD display, has an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, no front facing camera, Beats Audio integration, 4GB built-in storage and a 1,620 mAh battery.
This of course is a much capable and high quality dual-SIM capable Android smartphone in the Indian market. If dual-SIM capability is the prime feature you are looking for then there are a bunch of low-cost dual-SIM capable smartphones from local manufacturers.