Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vizio Announces The Co-Star, A $99 Google TV Box With OnLive Gaming Built In

Watch out, Sony, Vizio is chasing your tail. Just yesterday Sony revealed its latest Google TV hardware, a $199 remake of the company’s first GTV products. And now today, Vizio took to the wires and announced its first player in the Google TV game, the $99 Co-Star.

The Co-Star is a serious contender in this game, too. The product boasts all the Google TV functionality along with additional baked-in apps such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iHeartRadio, and for the first time on a Google TV box, OnLive. With OnLive gamers can demo, watch and actually play games through the cloud gaming service. Plus, all this is available for $100 less than Sony charges.

“Our focus to deliver the best consumer experience continues with today’s announcement of the Co-Star, which delivers a superior smart TV interface that anyone can add to their existing HDTV,” Matt McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer said in a released statement. “We combined the powerful features of Google TV™ with an intuitive and easy to use interface, giving users the power to enjoy an entire world of entertainment.”

The Co-Star ships with a dual-sided Bluetooth remote (OnLive’s wireless controllers use Bluetooth) with one side featuring a number pad and touchpad with a QWERTY keypad on the other side. The box also sports 802.11n and USB connectivity options.

Firefox 14 For Android Graduates From Beta, We Go Hands-On

When Mozilla first pushed their latest beta version of Firefox into the Google Play Store last month, it raised a few eyebrows thanks to its dramatic redesign and its claims of “significant” performance enhancements. Now that new version of Firefox (version 14, if you’re keeping track) has cast off its beta trappings, but is it worth your time? Read on to find out.

The name of Mozilla’s game with their latest mobile version of Firefox is performance. Users who took the plunge with Firefox for Android in the early days (and even the not-so-early days) were left with a novel browsing experience that could often be marred by downright slow performance.

“It was a solid product if you were on a high end phone but it was a problem for anything less than that,” said Johnathan Nightingale, Director of Firefox Engineering. “We decided to rebuild it with performance as the focus, and rip apart anything that was slow.” The Android version of Firefox 14 actually went to beta before the desktop version did because the team was concerned about nailing down performance on as many Android devices as they could.

Their effort is certainly apparent in the final product — unlike the previous version (which would temporarily black out the screen on my Galaxy Nexus for a few seconds before displaying the homepage), Firefox 14 springs to life nearly instantaneously after tapping its icon. Loading pages is generally quicker to boot (though still not as downright quick as Chrome), and swiping down through long pages of content is perceptibly smoother than the version that preceded it.

But Firefox’s performance on new devices is only part of the equation. I took the new build for a spin on something decidedly less robust — the Gingerbread-powered Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6, which sports a single-core 1GHz processor. As you would expect, the experience is decidedly less buttery thanks to some pokey hardware, but FF14 still managed to outperform the device’s stock browser in terms of page loading speed and general usability. It’s bound to be a welcome change for users with older or less powerful devices looking for a way to cruise the web with a bit more panache

Firefox 14 is also notable for its inclusion of Flash support, a move that may seem a bit puzzling considering the group’s focus on open web standards like HTML5. Still, it’s hard to deny that there’s still gobs of Flash content peppering the web, and a member of Mozilla’s mobile team mentioned that it took “a bunch of engineering work” to get things working properly across the multiple versions of Android that Firefox 14 plays well with. It goes without saying that running Flash content on an Android device has never really been the most pleasant experience, but it’s here and it works if you somehow feel as though your life is somehow less meaningful without it.

To sweeten the pot for existing Firefox users, the bookmark syncing Firefox Sync feature still allows users to access bookmarks, browser histories, saved passwords, and tabs stored on different devices.

Mozilla has also completely revamped their original mobile UI in favor of one that places much more emphasis on the address bar. It took a ton of getting used to but I was fan of Mozilla’s original concept, one that had users swiping to the left and right to access a list view of their other browser tabs and a control panel for bookmarking and back and forward through webpages. Now all that functionality is crammed into a smaller area, and naturally some changes had to be made.

Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that the reload button has been relegated to a life hidden away from plain sight. In order to reload a page, users now have to tap the menu button first in order to find the option, something that seems terribly odd since it used to live right inside the address bar. Not all of the design tweaks are questionable, as the tab view button nestled next to the address bar displays a running total of how many tabs are open — tapping that button also displays those tabs as real-time thumbnails.

At this point though, Firefox for Android also lacks a few features that have become widely used in rival browsers. The ability to request the desktop version of a page (as seen in the stock ICS browser and the Chrome’s Android beta) immediately comes to mind because of how often I need to use it, though Mozilla’s mobile team confirmed that the feature would appear in a new release sometime this summer. As such, it becomes clear that Firefox isn’t going to be for everyone — fans of sheer performance have Chrome (though Nightingale says that he’d put Firefox 14 against Chrome anyday), and browsers like Dolphin offer features like gesture-based navigation and voice control to wow their users.

But in the end, Mozilla doesn’t view this as a contest. Rivals like Chrome and Dolphin bring different browsing experiences to the table, and Nightingale noted that the cross-pollination of features and ideas will only strengthen the choices users have when it comes to exploring the web. That’s what Mozilla is really after here, and with Firefox 14 they’re doing their part to contribute to a better web.

Hong Kong, Singapore have highest number of tablet and smartphone users

According to a new report from wireless equipment and telecom infrastructure vendor Ericsson, Hong Kong and Singapore have the highest percentage of tablet and smartphone users on the planet, and will most likely continue on the same path until 2017.

The Swedish firm interviewed 47,500 internet users aged between 16 and 60 in 58 countries in the first quarter of 2012, Chinese news service Xinhua said. Hong Kong came out on top of the tablets with 34 percent of web users saying they owned one, while in Singapore the market penetration rate was a fraction less at 31 percent.

But the Lion City could be about to storm ahead of its old rival, according to Vishnu Singh, regional head of Ericsson ConsumerLab. Singh told Xinhua that tablet market penetration there would almost double by the end of the year to nearly 60 percent.

When it comes to smartphones, Singapore also edges out Hong Kong although just by one percentage point, 74 percent versus 73 percent.

The United Arab Emirates is the surprise third placed country, with 64 percent of adults there owning a smartphone. It’s not a massive shock to see Singapore and Hong Kong, both cities competing to be Asia’s pre-eminent technology hub, come out on top in the report. Both have predominantly urban, affluent and gadget-hungry populations and advanced mobile networks.

Mobile internet penetration in Hong Kong is predicted to grow from 60.9 percent last year to 93.1 percent by 2016, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And as impressive as these numbers may be, it’s to countries like China and India that the tablet and smartphone makers are looking for serious growth, because while the penetration rates there may be comparatively lower, the actual user numbers are much larger on average.

As the percentage of users owning such devices increases, so will the clamour at the IT manager’s door for BYOD programs.

Windows 8 Phone to feature an electronic wallet with NFC fonctionality

According to Microsoft, its new Windows 8 Phone will feature an electronic wallet with NFC functionality, but one that is similar to Google Wallet and Apple's Passbook, and will still be compatible to U.S. wireless carriers as well. Demonstrating the Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities of Microsoft's new phone operating system, Joe Belfiore couldn't demonstrate pay-by-tap, as he didn't have a suitable SIM handy, but that issue may be what pushes Windows Phone 8 to the front when it comes to paying for items with a mobile phone.

Belfiore did demonstrate NFC-enabled business cards, picking up a URL from an NFC chip embedded in a copy of Wired and setting up a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi link to play a Scrabble derivative, but despite flashing a wallet boasting credit and debit cards from Chase he could only use them online as his SIM didn't have the requisite secure element for paying with a tap of the mobile handset.

As well as a short-range radio connection, pay-by-tap needs a secure location in which to store the cryptographic keys and do the encryption used to authenticate payments, but where that secure location goes is still the subject of intense and increasingly political debate.

Wireless network operators say that the SIM is the perfect place-- it's already secure and if the customer changes handsets then their wallet comes with them, but that places the payment schemes firmly under the control of the network operator and if customers change networks then they'll have to manually move their wallets.

For it's part, Google's compromise is to simply have one secure element in the phone (under the control of Google) but still support a SIM-based secure element if that's what users want, but all the while reminding them it's not something they need.

The Android Wallet application will merge the two so that users shouldn't see the complexity, but when they change handsets or wireless carriers it might become more obvious to them.

By contrast, Microsoft is leaving the pay-by-tap business to the network operators, and has already signed an agreement with Orange for the first deployments in France although other mobile operators should be quick to jump as their collaborative efforts to create standard platforms come together over the next few weeks.

And of course, in the United States, that's under the ISIS brand. In the United Kingdom, it's known as Project Oscar and is being challenged by Google and PayPal who've complained that their inability to use the SIM is anti competitive. Both ISIS and Oscar will store coupons as well as credit cards, which is important as the Coupon business is considered hugely important to those who intend to generate revenue through advertising.

Having given up on getting a percentage of the transaction fee, the mobile operators are now hoping that coupon revenue will fund the deployment of NFC handsets, but that's not going to happen if Google and Apple are in control of that segment.

Apple and Google both see the coupons section of their e-wallets as critical revenue streams. Apple's wallet contains only tickets and coupons, for the moment at least, but Microsoft seems happy to let the network operators compete with app providers for that market rather than running their own couponing service.

Windows 8 Phone provides a consistent interface, not a competing service, and that could be as critical as any other feature Windows Phone can boast. It will be interesting to see how it picks up in the field with the average consumer.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The World’s Most Social Places

Facebook has close to a billion members, or about 14% of the world’s population, and thus they probably know a thing or two about what the world likes to do, the places we frequent and so on.

The social networking site today released a list of the most “social” landmarks in the world or places where the maximum number of Facebook check-ins have happened so far (since August 2010).

Sports stadium and public areas like parks were found to be the most “social” places as per the data.

Amusement parks like Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City, Moscow’s Gorky Park, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and Seoul’s Lotte World were among the top 10 places to check-in.

Cities with warmer climates had more check-ins to outdoors spots, like St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne and the Wynyard Quarter wharf in Auckland, while colder climes had more activity in concert halls or bars. Six of Moscow’s 10 most popular slots belong to bars and clubs.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Chevrolet The Heartbeat Of America

History Of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet cars began with the auto designs of Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss race car driver. The original founder of General Motors was forced from his position in management, and due to his determined effort to restore his reputation he started to use Louis deigns and creating his own models in 1911. His car models were really successful that he was able to buy a major share of the GM’s stock. In 1916 he became the president of the General Motors Company. Although Chevrolet began as an independent company, it became a part of the General Motors Company.

At first, the Chevrolet cars were being identified and determined by model numbers. However, after the occurrence of World War II, the company finally decided that it will be great for their interest to begin giving their cars real names. Chevrolet was able to develop wide range of car models from two door copes to four-door sedans, mini vans, SUVs, station wagons, sports cars and crossovers. These were the original models, however at the present, station wagons and mini vans were dropped to give way to more popular types.

From the start of the Chevy models, the cars were able to significantly grow both in size and power. The engines that started with four cylinders were upgraded to six cylinders and then the V8 was implemented in 1950s. The early models of the car are very big and are not really fuel efficient.

Then again, as time passes by, fuel has become expensive, finances grew tighter and the company realized the necessity to make something that will not consume too much fuel. They started to downsize and create cars that are smaller and more fuel efficient, which attracted many customers. This was a really smart move.

At the present, the company pays more attention on creating crossover vehicles that can replace the minivan as the modern family car. Crossovers are made to be more fuel efficient, more innovative and modern hence representing the ideology of the dreams of the people. The Travers is an example of one of the popular Chevy models.

Chevy has been capable of creating a reputable and trusted brand that many Americans have trusted for years. They have been through hard times as they need to compete against foreign brands and hike in material prices yet they were able to market their brand effectively and remain on top. Some of the most popular models of Chevrolet that has been in the production for ages are Camaro and Corvette.

$700 Million Google Data Centers To Open In China

Google data centers are known all over the world for their eco friendliness, so the word of three brand new data centers to open in China is a welcome piece of news in the industry.

Despite political tension between US and China, and some uncomfortable past experiences regarding search censorship and the infamous hacking incident, Google is bringing its ethical data center practices to Asia with $700 million total investment, said Google’s Asian-Pacific President Daniel Alegre.

If past experience of eco-friendly data centers is anything to go by the new center will be built according to the green standards Google has embraced in all of its data centers and offices since the beginning of the company.

This time around Google is piloting a unique cooling system to be used at the Taiwan data center. According to a Google spokesperson, the new method is based on nighttime cooling and thermal energy storage system. Large quantities of water will be cooled at night when the temperatures are at their lowest and power resources more readily available. Cool water will be stored in special insulated tanks where the low temperatures will be retained. In the daytime when temperatures rise and power is more costly, this cold water will be used to cool the data center.

In the past Google data centers became famous for using ‘free’ cooling techniques such as using the surrounding air and used toilet water to cool Google facilities.

The new data centers in China will provide users faster access to a variety of Google products and help meet the high demand for online services in the fastest growing new Internet user community in the world.

The opening of the $300 million Taiwan center is scheduled for the second half of 2013, with the other two centers to follow later.

With the construction of data centers in Hong Kong and Singapore already in progress, Google boasts a presence in 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Indonesia and Thailand. The Eastern expansion of the global giant can mean more business opportunities and better connectivity in that region.

Top 10 Low Cost Tablets in India

If you are searching for low cost tablets in India, you must be aware of the fact that most of these products come along with some truly great features, such as GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G. Therefore, the low price tags do not relate to low quality. On the contrary, these tablets are able to support different applications, just as any other types of tablets. The below given paragraphs present the most affordable tablets that are available in India these days.

 Top 10 Budget Tablets In India :

1) MSI WindPad 100A:

This is a very slim device that comes equipped with 1280 x 800 IPS. It provides different ports, including 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI and USB.

It accommodates a front camera of 2MP and a rear camera of 5MP. This device is powered by the Tegra 2 processor that comes together with 2GB RAM. There are two options available, the 16GB and 32 GB tablets. The price should be around Rs 17000.

2) HCL Sakshat Tablet:  

This tablet has a 7-inch display, USB ports, external hard drive and sports different applications, including the most common ones, such as Open Office, PDF viewer, Power Point, Excel, Word, video streaming, sip/unzip facility, web browsing, and flash video. Its a wonderful discovery in the tablets market and costs only $35, i.e Rs 1500 (approx).

3) MSI WindPad 100W:

The WindPad 100W provides specifications that are pretty much similar to those of the WindPad 100A. However, there are a few small differences from which the most important one relates to another processor type, which in this case is Atom Z530 of 1.6GHz.

This device also comes embedded with SRS PC sound system, biometric software, control system, photo manager and some other characteristics. This is little costly compared to other devices and is worth Rs 34990.

4) Reliance 3G Tab:  

This tablet provides a 7-inch display, being powered by Android 2.3. It also comes with micro SD storage space which can support up to 32GB. The tablet has two cameras of 2MP. It sports various features, including video streaming, GPS, voice calling, mobile TV and others. Reliance have priced it at Rs 12999.

5) MSI Enjoy 10:

This tablet is another low cost alternative. Cheaper than the WindPad 100A and 100W, this option is ready to deliver different low-end specifications.

It comes along with a processor of 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A8, which can support different applications.The device also presents 512MB of RAM, 4GB or storage, 2 cameras of 2MP each, and a great display that ensures a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Price of this tablet is Rs 14999.

6.) Spice MI-720:

This tablet promises to become a very popular choice of many Indian consumers. And this is mainly because it intends to replace the well-known Mi-700, which runs on the operating system, Android 2.2 Froyo.

The Spice Mi-720 runs on Android 2.3 and features an updated processor of 800MHz. Other specifications include 512 MB RAM and ROM, VGA front and rear cameras of 3MP, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, SIM and SD card slots. It may cost around INR 17000 – INR 20000.

7) MSI Enjoy 7:   

Similar to the aforementioned tablet, Enjoy 10, this tablet presents similar capabilities. The main difference consists of the size of the tablet and display’s characteristics, which highlight a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Any other features remain the same.The price of the device is Rs 13999 (Approx).

8.) Zinglife ZL101:  

This 10-inch tablet is proposed by Zinglife, being powered by the operating system, Android 2.2. It comes with a processor of 1GHz, 512 MB of RAM and RJ45 broadband port. The price is estimated at Rs 12300.

9) Beetel Magiq Tablet:   

Developed by Beetel Teletech, this low cost tablet brings in the Android 2.2 operating system and 8GB of memory, which is extendable to 16 GB. The tablet also provides a long battery life, front and back cameras of 2MP, Wi-Fi and 3G functions. The price of this tablet is Rs 8999.

10) Wespro Digital ePad:   


This is another great alternative that comes along with different features. These features include Android 1.9 operating system, a processor of 400MHz, 128MB of RAM, expandable memory up to 32GB, Wi-Fi, MP3, MPEG, WMA DIVX and XVID file formats. This tablet is for sale at its official site for Rs 5999.

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