Monday, December 31, 2012

Great game deals to kick off the new year How about Halo 4 for $34.99? Or Far Cry 2 for $2.49 (with a $5 Amazon credit)? Those deals and more...

Welcome to my last post of 2012. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you the best as we head into what will hopefully be a saner, safer new year.

Personally, I'm hoping to find a little more time for fun -- more books, more sports, and more gaming. Especially cheap gaming, which makes it even more fun in my book. Today I've rounded up some pretty spectacular game deals for consoles and PCs; take a look:

1. While supplies last, Newegg (via Ebay) has an Xbox Live Gold 12-month Membership Card for $37.99 shipped. Typical price: $59.99. Xbox Live Gold lets you play games online and stream content from the likes of Hulu and Netflix.

2. While we're on the subject of Xbox, Newegg also has Halo 4 for $34.99 shipped when you use coupon code EMCYTZT2716 at checkout. (You need to be a Newegg newsletter subscriber to use the code.) Buy it at retail and you'll pay $59.99 (plus sales tax, natch). That's the lowest price by far I've seen on this smash-hit sequel.

3. Switching gears to PCs, Amazon has Far Cry 2: Fortune's Edition for $2.49 -- and if you buy it by the end of the day, you'll get a $5 credit good toward any "Editor's Choice" game download you purchase in January. By the way, ignore the negative reviews; they're mostly griping about the game's DRM. Get the more accurate scoop in GameSpot's full Far Cry 2 review. By the way, this download includes the Fortune's Pack add-on.

4. Got younger gamers in the house? For my money you can't beat the LEGO series, especially when they're priced like this: Green Man Gaming has LEGO Batman: The Videogame (PC) for $4.75 when you apply coupon code GMG30-DPLIM-DN831 and the much newer LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes for $8.40 with the same code. (The latter still sells elsewhere for the full list price of $29.99.) Tremendous bargains, both.

5. Finally, Steam continues to serve up some great holiday deals, today focusing on franchises like BioShock, Grand Theft Auto, and Far Cry (you can get that same $2.49 deal on Far Cry 2, but without the Amazon credit), and Galactic Civilizations. These are available until around noon tomorrow, at which point they'll be replaced by other deals.

Have a safe, happy, and fun-filled new year, cheeps!
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Samsung to sell first Tizen smartphone next year, report says Tizen is an alternative Linux-based operating system seen as a more open platform that will rival Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Samsung at the Consumer Electronics Show.
(Credit: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics will be the first to sell a smartphone running on the Tizen operating system through Japanese carrier NTT Docomo and other partners next year, according to Japan's Daily Yomiuri.

Samsung, NTT Docomo, and their partners hope to build a platform that will rival the major operating systems from Apple and Google. Other carriers interested in Tizen include the U.K.'s Vodaphone and France Telecom, according to the report.

CNET has contacted Samsung for comment, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

Tizen is a Linux-based operating system that emerged from the death of Nokia's MeeGo. Intel, which originally worked with Nokia on MeeGo, and Samsung took over the development of the operating system, which is also overseen by the Linux Foundation. It is seen as more open than Google's Android, which despite its claims of openness, has irked some partners with certain restrictions, including the inability to make massive changes to the underlying platform.

The various companies involved with Tizen see the platform as a potential alternative with both Android and the closed iOS operating system from Apple getting too powerful. Samsung has seen its market share and dominance over the smartphone industry soar with Android, but is hedging its bets. Samsung is also juggling Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system as well, but so far the platform hasn't taken off for the company.

Beyond phones, Tizen could be used for other devices, including televisions and tablets. Samsung has been quick to add platforms capable of running apps in devices such as televisions and even appliances.

NTT Docomo, meanwhile, is the only major Japanese carrier to not sell the iPhone, and Daily Yomiuri said that the carrier hopes that Tizen will help reverse the subscriber losses.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

HTC Said To Be Prepping Its New “M7″ Flagship Android Phone For A Q1 2013 Launch

Financially speaking, HTC hasn’t had the best track record this year. Even after promising to focus on hero devices in 2012, the company has had to deal with rough quarter after rough quarter. It seems that HTC is already working to make 2013 a bit brighter though — recent report from Focus Taiwan points out that the company is currently slaving away on its next flagship smartphone, tentatively named the “M7.”

There’s very little known about the device at this point, but a little digging from the folks at HTC Source seems to have unearthed an early spec sheet. If true, the M7 could ship with a 5-inch display running at 1080p, an aluminum unibody chassis, a 13-megapixel camera, and (most importantly) a Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core processor.

On some level it seems like HTC is rushing into things — after all, the Taiwanese company just launched a pair of 1080p display-toting phones in Japan and the United States within the past two months, though it doesn’t seem like either of them will land in Europe any time soon. Then again there’s not a whole lot of time for players in the wireless industry to sit around and catch their proverbial breath. Rivals LG and Samsung are both widely expected to launch followups to their own respective flagship phones (complete with 1080p displays as well) within the first half of 2013. The eventual announcement may not be the most welcome news for customers who have just taken the plunge on another device, but hey — that’s just the nature of the beast.

If this thing really is in the works, then I imagine it won’t be too long before it makes its grand entrance — HTC usually shows off some impressive new hardware (the One series, anyone?) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and that’s less than three months away. Couple that with some analyst chatter about a March 2013 launch and the company’s track record with employees’ loose lips, and we have all the makings of a potential leakfest sooner rather than later.

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Sony reveals 3.5-inch Xperia E single or dual-SIM Android phone, coming early next year

Sony has just announced the new Xperia E smartphone sporting a 3.5-inch HVGA 320 x 480 display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (though the specs indicate ICS), available with single or "Xperia Edual" mode SIMs. It's touting the new handset as a way to "stay on top of your data and battery usage," sporting special software that disables WiFi and data traffic when the screen has been asleep for more than a few minutes. With the dual-SIM option, you'll also be able to switch between carriers with a single touch "to stay on the most cost effective plan." It'll come with HD Voice and Walkman xLOUD technology for optimal sound quality, according to Sony, and other specs include a 1GHz processor, wireless DNLA connectivity, a 1500 mAh battery and black, white or pink color options. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it'll launch in Q1 2013 according to the PR, which you can find along with a video right after the break.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Gangnam Style Onslaught Continues With An Official Live Wallpaper For Android Devices

It’s been, what, five months since PSY’s Gangnam Style first made its YouTube debut? You’d think that Gangnam fever would’ve died out long ago, but it just keeps chugging along — the video recently beat some Justin Bieber garbage to become the most-watched thing on YouTube, and some expect it to hit 1 billion views in short order. If all that weren’t enough, there’s now an official Gangnam Style live wallpaper for Android-toting K-Pop fanatics to throw their money at.

Sure, it’s not the first one to worm its way into the Google Play store, but it’s by far the best. To wit: double-tapping the wallpaper causes the otherwise dull background image to slide apart and reveal the infamous elevator thrusting scene (accompanied by brief snippets of the song, naturally). It’s funny enough, but Gangnam Style purists will probably be miffed when they discover that none of the snippets actually match up with what’s happening visually.

What’s more, each new email or text message you receive also causes the wallpaper to spring to life. Jaded though I may be at this point, watching PSY gallop about like a ninny whenever I got a new message still manages to elicit some giggles. To top it all off, an audio file called “sexy_lady” is automatically set as your device’s default notification sound once the live wallpaper has been enabled — you can probably guess exactly what happens, but here’s a video just in case your imagination is a little lacking:
Terribly obvious visual gags aside, the live wallpaper will occasionally display PSY’s latest tweets, as well as upcoming concert dates and tour stops. If all this sounds like a recipe for a good time, you may want to mosey on over to the Google Play Store to see for yourself. Be warned, though — most reviewers didn’t seem to have much trouble with it, but I found that the live wallpaper would occasionally force close on my Nexus 4. If you’re thinking about shelling out the $1.99 for this thing, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the 15-minute return window if things turn sour right out of the gate.

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Google Maps On The Wii U Lets You Wander The World’s Streets With Your GamePad Beginning In January

While I’ve managed to resist the call of the Wii U so far, neat tricks with the GamePad like the newly-announced Google Maps app Street View integration have me sorely tempted. Nintendo announced today that Google Maps will be arriving on the Wii U gaming console in early 2013, delivering a unique Street View mode for the GamePad touchscreen controller that allows users to pan around various locations as they view satellite map imagery on their television.

Initially, I might have questioned the need for a mapping app on a home gaming console, which tend to be stationary, but the ability to take essentially walking tours from the comfort of your living room in a way that’s much more immersive than just panning around on a computer screen or mobile device makes this very interesting. Japan’s Wii U owners will be able to grab the Google Maps app beginning in January, where it will be available free at least through March.

Nintendo also discussed a special Panorama View app, which will feature 360-degree videos, not just static imagery, that users can pan around using the GamePad. This app was originally unveiled at E3, and will arrive in Spring 2013 in Japan. U.S. releases of both features are expected to follow their Japanese introductions.

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Nokia Unveils Latest Windows Phone 8 Device: Lumia 620 Packs 3.8 Inch ClearBlack Display, NFC, Costs $249 (Before Taxes)

Marko Ahtisaari, Executive VP of Design, Nokia, has unveiled its latest Windows Phone 8 device: the Nokia Lumia 620. The product design chief was speaking at the LeWeb conference taking place this week in Paris.

The phone is smaller (and cheaper) than other Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices — with a 3.8 inch screen, 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and Nokia’s ClearBlack display to improve the viewing experience outdoors in bright sunlight. (Full device specs can be found here.)

Nokia is also adding some new casing colours with this Lumia device — overlaying one translucent colour layer over an opaque layer to produce new “bold blends” with a “depth effect” — such as lime green and orange. Seven colours are being offered in all, with exchangeable shells — in gloss and matte finishes.

“We knew there was space in the portfolio for something more compact,” said Ahtisaari. “Something that fit beautifully in the palm of the hand. But something that still had the camera, a solid camera, and the signature apps that Nokia is noted for. And as well we wanted something that would take our pure colour story and just give it a burst of playfulness — mix it up a little bit.”

The more compact form factor of the Lumia 620, means Nokia has opted for a “softer, rounder” form factor than for its other two — larger — Windows Phone 8 devices: the Lumia 920 and 820, noted Ahtisaari.

The Lumia 620 also includes NFC for linking up with accessories such as speakers, an “especially loud speaker” on the back of the phone, a “very fast” five megapixel camera and Nokia-specific Windows Phone 8 apps/features — such as SmartShoot, Cinemagraph, City Lens, Lenses, Maps, Music, Drive and Transport. Also on board: a front-facing camera for video calls.

The design chief said the phone will cost $249 (before taxes) — its cheapest Windows Phone 8 device by far — and is set to ship in January, to Asia-Pac, Middle East and Africa first, with Europe and Canada following “soon thereafter”.

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Samsung to ship more than 60M smartphones in Q4, says analyst The Korean smartphone maker could ship as many as 61.5 million smartphones, a 5 percent gain from the prior quarter, says a UBS analyst.

Samsung should enjoy a profitable quarter if one analyst's smartphone projections are on the money.

The company is expected to ship 61.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, said UBS analyst Nicolas Gaudois, as reported by the Yonhap News agency. That number would prove a 5 percent gain over the 58 million estimated shipments for the third quarter.

And the figure could grow as high as 63 million, the analyst forecast, depending on how many units are actually sold to consumers. The gain in shipments will be triggered in large part by the Galaxy Note 2, which Samsung released in September.

"The Galaxy Note 2 has shipped 3 million units in its first five weeks of sales, with sell-through strong in Asia and Europe, and the U.S. gathering pace post-launch," Gaudois said in his investors note, according to Yonhap. "We hence forecast 7 million Galaxy Note 2, compared to our initial expectation of 5 million for the fourth quarter."

Samsung's Galaxy S3 will also be a major factor in the higher shipments.

Unveiled in May, the new Galaxy S flagship brought in unit sales of more than 5.5 million just in October. Despite concerns that the iPhone 5 might steal away some business, the analyst sees little effect on S3 sales.

"We see a limited ramp-down, if any at all, for the Galaxy S3, and we feel comfortable with our 15 million estimate for the fourth quarter of 2012," Gaudois added.

Samsung and Apple virtually own the smartphone market. The two have been duking it out for the top spot, but recent reports from IDC and other research firms show Samsung still clearly in the lead over its archrival.

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Facebook hopes new Messenger app will outpace SMS The big social network is angling to replace text messaging with a new Facebook Messaging service requires a phone number but no Facebook account.

PARIS -- Facebook revamped its Facebook Messenger service today in an attempt to get people to dump mobile-phone text messaging in favor of something more sophisticated.

Facebook Messenger today is essentially an instant-messaging network, complete with separate apps to use the service. But with the new incarnation, people need only a phone number, and no Facebook account, said Peter Deng, Facebook's director of communications product management, at the LeWeb show here.

The service is available initially in South Africa, India, Australia, Argentina, and Venezuela, he said, and in India's case in partnership with a carrier. Many young people have shown a major preference for text messaging over e-mail, and Facebook hopes they'll get opt for a more elaborate option from Facebook rather than the ordinary Simple Message Service.

"The SMS protocol has been around for 20 years. It's designed for old phones, and it don't take advantage of location or rich features like picture taking," Deng said. "We want to let people connect to each other."

Facebook isn't the first to try to replace SMS. There are innumerable instant-messaging applications, including Microsoft's Windows Messenger, which is to be replaced with Skype, and Apple is working to extend SMS itself with iOS and OS X.

The service has no ads and works on a wide array of feature phones, not just higher-end smartphones, he said.

And though it doesn't require Facebook use, the company unsurprisingly hopes Facebook Messenger will lead to it, particularly in developing markets.

"It could lead to other parts of the Facebook product -- post a status message or share an album," Deng said.

With its Web site geared for use on personal computers, Facebook has struggled to cope with the onset of mobile technology. Now, though, the company has put mobile devices in the center of its development plans.

"We're thinking about mobile first," Deng said. "It turns our development philosophy on its head. We've gone native."

And it's not easy. Developers have a pile of feature phones available to ensure their mobile apps and mobile site features work, he said, but there are innumerable compatibility challenges.

"Every single day, Facebook is accessed by 7,000 different types of devices," Deng said.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Verizon's Motorola Droid RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD Getting Android 4.12 Upgrades this Week

When the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD came out this fall, they debuted running Android 4.0, an out-dated version of Google's operating system. These two Verizon smartphones will soon be receiving upgrades, though not to to latest version of Android.

Motorola's newest will be getting upgrades to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which is about a year old. Version 4.2 debuted this summer. Still, few devices from any company are running this version yet.

4.1 brings some new features, including Google Now, expandable notifications, Android Beam (letting users share media with other users), and new widget capabilities.

Verizon says that the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX will start going out in phases this week. This is a standard practice for smartphone system software upgrades -- rather than everyone getting it at once, groups of users are given access to it in a schedule spread out over a few days.

Customers can visit Verizon's support page for more information about the Android 4.1 upgrade.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Zapstreak Goes Global With Public SDK Launch For Its AirPlay For Android Solution

Poznan, Poland-based startup Zapstreak has just brought its AirPlay-style media streaming solution for Android out of beta, making the SDK it provides available to developers worldwide after a six-month extended testing period. The company’s tech allows Android developers to build music, video or picture-streaming right into their app. Because the tech is built on the DLNA standard, it doesn’t require devs to worry about additional hardware capabilities in consumer devices, and it should work out-of-the-box with a variety of existing TVs, receivers and other home AV equipment.

DLNA is built in to most connected TVs on the market, and it also works with audio-only devices like stereo receivers and even some game consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3 both support DLNA streaming). Developers can build in support for DLNA streaming on their own, but Zapstreak’s SDK is designed to make things much easier, taking away additional work and development costs and giving devs a plug-and-play solution they can integrate easily. Ease of use was what Zapstreak beta partners musiXmatch and video2brain cited as key to their decision to use Zapstreak as their means of providing DLNA access through their apps.

Back when Zapstreak debuted its product in April, founder Stefan Bielau explained how it originally wanted to build just a single app for streaming media, but recognized that there was a clear gap in the Android ecosystem with this type of tech, one which Apple was actively expanding on its own platform. Apple brought expanded AirPlay capabilities to the iPad first with full system mirroring, a feature which later also made it to iPhone devices. AirPlay video and desktop streaming is now also available from Mac OS X computers, features which alone make the Apple TV an attractive purchase to users heavily engaged in the Apple hardware and software ecosystem.

But times have changed. In the ensuing six months, Google has introduced and revoked its own Android media streamer (the Nexus Q), and Google wants to build media streaming right into Android with an open AirPlay standard that will be available cross-platform, according to a recent report from GigaOm. Many Android handsets also now ship with Miracast built in, which is a Wi-Fi Alliance-certified standard manufacturers are now putting into televisions as well as smartphone hardware. Android 4.2 brings official system-level Miracast support to Google’s mobile OS.

Zapstreak is offering free access to its SDK for a month after sign up for new developers, but after that, it starts at $29 per month. That might be a lot to ask developers looking for a service that could soon be provided by Google for free, but DLNA has the advantage of working with existing home theatre setups, and it’s available now, not planned for the future. Zapstreak is also working on similar SDKs for both iOS and Windows developers, though there’s no firm timeline on when those will make a public appearance just yet.

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Apple Will Reportedly Start Selling Unlocked iPhones As Early As Tonight In The U.S.

Apple has yet to release the unlocked iPhone 5 in the U.S., even though early on they let images leak depicting pricing of that device on its website. Now a new report from 9t05Mac claims that the company will start selling unlocked iPhones as early as tonight via its online store, with physical retail availability coming shortly thereafter. As we reported at launch, unlocked pricing for the iPhones will be $649, $749 and $849 respectively for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.

9to5Mac’s generally solid retail sources say that the phone will be made available unlocked beginning around 9 PM PT tonight at the earliest, and that physical stores will have them “soon,” but haven’t received a firm starting date for sales as of yet. The report does claim that unlocked device inventory is already making its way out to retail locations, however, in advance of being put on sale. Finally, their sources also indicate that customers will start being able to reserve devices ahead of time anytime, rather than just after 10 PM, as is the current practice.

Unlocked devices are on the market through Apple in other markets, like the Canadian store. These come SIM-unlocked, meaning you can use them with the carrier and plan of your choice. Customers still have to ensure that the version of the iPhone they pick up is compatible with the network of their choosing. In the U.S., Apple offers two versions of the iPhone, one that works with Sprint and Verizon 4G networks, and one that works with AT&T frequencies. It’s unclear from this report whether both versions will be made available unlocked, but hopefully we’ll find out later this evening.

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HTC Won’t Sell The Entry-Level Windows Phone 8S Smartphone In The U.S.

The HTC 8S is a Windows Phone 8 handset that’s lightly specced compared to its more powerful sibling, the HTC 8X. The 8X is HTC’s flagship phone based on Microsoft’s mobile OS, and apparently the only one the U.S. market may ever see, according to an official statement from HTC issued late Friday afternoon. The budget 8S won’t make it to U.S. shores, an HTC official told Engadget, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

The HTC 8S is a not a bad-looking piece of hardware, based on the versions I saw at CTIA MobileCon before they were allowed to be displayed running a live version of Windows Phone 8. But inside it’s a device built for a budget: It lacks a front-facing camera, has a much lower resolution display, a weaker rear camera, less RAM and a slower processor than its big brother. The Verge reports that delays in carrier testing of the 8S had already pushed back its retail availability (where it was targeted for T-Mobile), but the new statement from HTC indicates we probably won’t ever see the phone on sale stateside.

The Windows Phone 8X is now said to be HTC’s area of focus on the Windows Phone side for the U.S. market, where it’s sold at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. While Windows Phone 8 sales are said to be exceeding the launch performance of Windows Phone 7 devices, no one’s putting any firm numbers behind that as of yet. It’s possible that what HTC saw regarding sales of its 8X indicated that the wise course would be to focus on promoting a single WP8-based device in the U.S. market, rather than splitting their focus between two handsets.

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Apple Gains On Samsung In U.S. Mobile Phone Market Share, Lands Second Overall For The First Time

For the first time in the history of comScore’s MobiLens U.S. mobile market share report, Apple has come in second overall among handset OEMs. Apple grew its U.S. market share by 1.5 percentage points from 16.3 to 17.8 percent in the three-month period ending October 2012, according to the report. During the same period, Samsung also saw its share grow, but only by 0.7 percentage points, from 25.6 to 26.3 percent. Apple seems to have begun narrowing the gap on the back of the iPhone 5, which went on sale in the U.S. towards the middle of the period covered by comScore’s latest report.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 8.34.07 AMApple climbed to second over LG, which saw a dip of 0.8 percentage points from 18.4 to 17.6 percent during the period. Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five, both experiencing slight drops and finishing the quarter with 11 and 6 percent of the market, respectively. Another key metric comScore found, and one which helps explain what finally pushed Apple into second place, is nearly 52 percent of all subscribers in the U.S. were on smartphones, up 6 percent from the previous quarter. Apple only sells smartphones, so its fortunes rising in lockstep with the decreasing popularity of feature phones makes perfect sense.

As mentioned, Apple also released the iPhone 5 during the quarter covered by this report. We’ve already seen from Kantar Worldpanel that the iPhone 5 propelled Apple back to the top of the U.S. smartphone charts, and it’s likely that device is also the reason Apple now comes in at number two overall among handset makers of all stripes.

Platform market share still shows Google with a commanding lead, and one which grew during the period, from 52.2 percent of subscribers to 53.6 percent. Apple also gained, rising 0.9 percentage points from 33.4 percent to 34.3 percent, while RIM was the biggest loser among the top five with a decline of 1.7 percentage points. Microsoft and Symbian round out the top five, both with minor drops in overall share.

The next quarter will be an interesting one to watch for. It covers November through January, which means that we’ll see the holiday effect on all OEMs. It also should include LG’s sales of the Nexus 4 device, which seems to be remarkably popular, or at least in very short supply. Depending on how LG allocates supply among its Optimus G and Nexus devices, we could see it claw back into second, since the gap is still quite narrow, but it has to contend with Apple’s holiday iPhone sales, which are generally very strong.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

A First Look At The 2012 21.5-inch iMac, And How It Compares To Generations Past

The new iMac all-in-one desktop computer from Apple goes on sale today, and it includes a significant hardware redesign. Apple has cut bulk and thinned out the edges with a tapered design that is only 5 mm thick at the edge. Leaving aside what’s new under the hood, the case itself is impressive enough that it merits a good look. Here’s what the new 21.5-inch version of the iMac looks like, and how it stacks up to other Apple hardware, past and present.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, front view. It’s hard to tell in pics, but the screen is very impressive. Images sit so close to the glass.

 21.5-inch 2012 iMac, side view. you can see here how it tapers out to a relatively thick point where the hinge attaches to the stand.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, from the back. Not much has changed here from the last generation. Ports, power button, etc all in the same place.

Thickness comparison, 2012 iMac and 13-inch 2012 Retina MacBook Pro. You can see the edge of the iMac is just slightly thicker than the MacBook’s lid.

2012 iMac next to 2012 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Apple’s design aesthetics are definitely still in tight lockstep between notebooks and desktops.
 Edge comparison, 2011 MacBook Air and 2012 iMac. At its thinnest point, the MacBook Air is still thinner than the iMac’s edge, but just barely.

 2008 20-inch iMac (left) next to 2012 21.5-inch iMac. My old kitchen workhorse comes out to showhow much has changed in four years. Note the thickness of the stand on the older machine.

 2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) thickness comparison. The difference here is almost absurd.

2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) top thickness comparison. That taper accounts for all the saved volume on the newer machine.

2011 iMac (left) thickness comparison to 2012 iMac (right). This is a comparison with the 2011 iMac released last summer. At their thickest point they’re close, if not the same at around 1.5-inches thick.

Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 iMac screen. It’s not a Retina display, but the further distance from the screen a user sits makes the difference harder to spot than on, say the iPad mini.
Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Here’s the comparison shot from Apple’s HiDPI Mac screen.

 2012 iMac edge close-up. You can tell this is a precision-crafted machine.
iPhone 5 and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. Thinner than iPhone 5 at the outer edge.

Pad mini and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. These are pretty close, too.

iPad (3rd generation) and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. The iPad’s starting to look positively hefty in this context.

We’ll have more on the new iMac in a proper review once I’ve had a chance to put it through more thorough day-to-day testing.

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NeoMedia sues SpyderLynx as scanning figures rise

Rating: W7 Mango users bottom of scanning list

As mobile barcode scanning expert, NeoMedia Technologies, announced its performance figures for Q1 2012, the company also let slip that it had started another law suit over its patent portfolio. This time the supplier on the wrong end of NeoMedia’s lawyers is SpyderLynx. That’s interesting because SpyderLynx itself is trying to patent the use of embedding a log into a QR code. See our previous story here. For the lawyers amongst our readership, we decided to publish NeoMedia’s Press release on the who legal action bit here. Meanwhile, NeoMedia is staking its claim to be the leading purveyor of QR code scanning software. It says that 20 million handsets use its NeoReader barcode scanning service worldwide (representing 227 countries). Significantly, Android smartphones account for the majority use of the NeoReader app and 56 per cent of all scans.Current NeoMedia Technologies’ CEO, Laura Marriott, commented, “The numbers are in. The growth we’ve seen over the past year proves that NeoReader is becoming one of the most popular QR code readers amongst mobile users worldwide.”

Overall, the number of unique NeoReader users grew 148 per cent between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012, with users being predominantly male and under 35 years of age.

Compared to the first three months of 2011, NeoMedia has seen a 138 per cent growth in QR code scanning in the first three months of 2012.

The number of mobile barcodes generated through NeoMedia’s NeoSphere platform during this quarter finished at 73,000.

Smartphones using the Android OS accounted for 56 per cent of scans, followed by iOS, Symbian, Blackberry and then, (finally) Windows Phone 7 (W7 Mango).

Broken down, 1D scanning has grown 27 per cent and 2D scanning is up 212 per cent. The total number of QR codes scanned grew 13 per cent.
About admin
Tony Dennis is now editor of GoMo News. It was previously owned by founder - Bena Roberts until she sold her shares recently.

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