Posts Tagged ‘ tech ’

My Favorite Podcasts

Tech

Mobile

Gaming

Other

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 release candidate is now officially available

Adobe has made their long awaited Flash Player update officially available for download on their site earlier this month. They offer downloads for Windows, Linux and Mac.

My mobile computer is a Gateway EC18 ultra portable with a 1.3GHz Core 2 Solo processor and an Intel GMA 4500 graphics chip. With prior versions of flash 720P videos on YouTube were choppy and didn’t provide the best experience. I had opted into the HTML5 beta on YouTube which offered me better performance than Flash could provide, but lacked proper full screen support and suffered severe frame rate drops when scaling the video to fill the web page.

After installing Adobe’s latest 10.1 update 720P videos played back perfectly smooth and leaves some CPU usage free which should help with battery life. It offers far superior performance than what HTML5 YouTube could provide with greater scaling performance and perfect full screen implementation.

Adobe’s Flash will not go down without a fight.

Hit the link to download Flash 10.1

Dave Loft

Why is everyone just handing the tablet category to Apple?

Microsoft is currently recommending full blown Windows 7 for a tablet, while also offering up Windows Embedded Compact 7 to OEM’s as an option. At first I thought that sounded interesting. Then I heard they are not creating the UI for it and instead leaving it up to the OEM to design their own interface. It doesn’t make any sense and I can’t believe anyone would think this was a good idea.

Now I’m a huge fan of Windows 7 and it’s great on a laptop and desktop. Windows EC 7 is small and light and is the underpinnings for the Zune and Windows Phone 7. It would make an excellent basis for a tablet. But they need to create the UI and ecosystem with a cohesive marketplace that provides the same experience on all OEM’s products. They can base it on Silverlight which would make it very easy to create apps for the tablet as well as Windows Phone 7.

I believe Microsoft’s long-term goal is to head in that direction but they are putting all their resources into two big launches this fall, Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal for Xbox 360. The recent release of the Kin by Microsoft was a waste of time. It doesn’t make sense and takes away from what they are doing with Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is late to the phone market and because of it they are also late to the tablet market. The current promotion of full Windows 7 on tablets is just to fill the gap till they have a proper product in place.

Google has caught up to Apple in the phone department but has nothing for tablets. They don’t talk about them or do anything to help current Android tablets succeed. I’m hoping that when Google launches the next version of Android codenamed Gingerbread that it includes a modified UI and ecosystem for Tablets. Either that or they make good on their promise of the Chrome OS if it can make better use of the screen space the tablet provides.

That leads me to my other point and question why everyone says Microsoft should just bring their phone OS to the tablet. Many people believe Google should just bring Android to the tablet and forget about Chrome OS. Also HP bought Palm mainly with the purpose of bringing WebOS to the tablet. I’m not sure that’s the best strategy. A tablet is a different category and needs a similar touch based OS but it needs to be more powerful with a focus on multitasking and frankly multiple windows. I have no interest in running games or apps designed for a small 3-4″ screen on a 7-12″ tablet. They need apps written specifically for them, so why not make an OS specifically for the tablet.

I also believe that flash is fundamental to a tablet competing with Apple. It will provide them with some leverage to win over customers. The internet will take longer to change to HTML5 then it will take for competing tablets to hit the market. Also the hardware to run Flash smoothly without killing the battery will be available long before HTML5. I can live without it on my phone, but not on a tablet.

I don’t like the direction everyone is heading with tablets. If they actually want them to replace laptops for most consumer uses they need to be more of a PC and less of a Phone. They really need to find the perfect medium between the two and if Google, HP or Microsoft can actually do it they have a chance of capturing this emerging market. If they release a tablet running a phone OS or desktop OS, they blew it.

Dave Loft

Google Latitude Helped Recover Stolen Property

While traveling on the long weekend a couple’s car was broken into and had a lot of items stolen including the wife’s HTC Droid Eris. The husband who had his HTC Droid Incredible with him launched Google Maps and checked her phones location using Google Latitude. It showed his wife’s phone motoring down the I-5. He called the CHP with a description of the car and location information. The suspects were caught and all of their items were recovered.

The Droid Truly Does.

Read more at Android Central

Dave Loft

Google TV

Google announced their TV at the recent Google I/O. I haven’t written anything about it yet as I wanted to consider all the details first. I liked what I saw when their Bluetooth wasn’t giving them any trouble. Actually scratch that, I loved what I saw. I really think Google has something here, something far better than any internet TV device that came before it. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean it’s going to actually capture the market.

The key to success for Google TV is to get all the devices that people use and already have connected to the TV running Google’s software. Your cable box, DVR, Blu-Ray player and the TV itself needs to run on Google TV. Having a box that sits between your DVR and TV is not the most elegant solution. Unfortunately that’s exactly what Logitech will be selling with their initial box. If they go this route, it must seamlessly work with any device it connects to. It needs to know everything about your service and every capability your box offers. It also must not paste its UI over top of the original boxes UI. It needs to make things simpler, not more complicated.

They also need to get something like Hulu available on the device. Hulu knows not to get involved with the TV or face starvation brought on by old ties between the content creators and content providers. So it’s highly unlikely they will get them so Google needs to find a way to offer their own Hulu like service. They need to find a similar balance that Hulu offers with providing on demand TV while keeping the content providers happy. It shouldn’t be an issue as most people want to watch the show right away. With a service like Hulu you have to wait till the next day to watch. Most people want to be in the conversation at work the next day on what happened last night on TV, so they need cable. On demand TV is great for catching up when life happens and you can’t be at home. Allowing you to catch up so you can watch next weeks broadcast may actually keep people watching, which is a benefit to broadcasters.

The next step is to create a powerful yet intuitive remote to control the experience that anyone can use. There needs to be something unique about the remote and that uniqueness needs to be persistent across all Google TV boxes to keep the experience consistent. Using your smartphone is merely a novelty and in practice will not always be useful.

The other important factor is making sure they have lots of content geared towards TV users. They need to truly make TV interactive, much like what Major League Baseball is doing online and on the iPad. If the majority of content creators, providers and hardware manufacturers actually work together Google could really offer something new to TV.

Google TV will start slow and will probably lack a lot of stuff to truly make it the killer device it could be. I don’t see it taking off till it becomes open source in 2011. After that assuming a lot of manufacturers adopt it as opposed to writing their own UI, they may have something. It has worked for Google in the smartphone space plus just like TV they are built around advertising so if anyone can do it, it’s Google.

Dave Loft

Read more at Google TV

What Android means to Google at the Google I/O


At 8:30 am PST Vic Gundotra from Google hit the stage for their day two keynote presentation. On day one they focused completely on the web. Day two they went straight to Android.

Vic Gundotra quotes Andy Rubin on stage with two reasons why Google needed to create Android. “it was critically important to provide a free mobile operating system, an open source operating system that would enable innovation at every level of the stack. OEMs should be free to build all kinds of devices, devices with keyboards without keyboards, with front facing cameras, two inches, three inches, four inches, that operators should able to compete on the strength and coverage of their network, 2G, 3G 4G, LTP, CDMA And that in the end with innovation coming at every layer, it would be the customer who would be able to benefit by getting the best device and best network for them. Andy argued that if Google did not act, we faced a Draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice. So if you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android. Now let’s get started.


Vic Gundotra boasted about Androids growth by announcing they are currently offering over 60 devices running on 59 carrier networks, in over 48 countries from 21 OEMs. He announced that their run rate daily activations have now passed 100,000 units a day. He went on to mention that Android was able to grab 2nd place right behind RIM last quarter in overall sales. He also stated that Android had the most web and app usage according to AdMob. He mentioned that they had set a goal for turn-by-turn navigation for the first year and in 6 months they had doubled it with 1 Billion miles navigated. He was also happy to announce that the Android Market had crossed 50,000 applications and went on to thank the 180,000 developers that make the ecosystem work.

Watch on YouTube

More to come.

Dave Loft

AMD’s Long Awaited Laptop Refresh Is Here

Introduction

I have been waiting for AMD to refresh their lineup and offer something to compete with Intel in more than just one segment. They currently are only competitive in the lowest price bracket of notebook PCs. Intel’s Core 2 and the new i3, i5 and i7 hold the crown for best the performance in a notebook. Intel also controls the mobile market with all netbooks running Intel Atom based processors. Take a step up to the ultra-portable notebook and Intel rules with their ultra-low voltage line of processors. AMD’s new 2010 Vision lineup of processors is fully realized with products to challenge Intel in every one of those segments they used to not be able to compete in. Let’s take a closer look if to see if they succeeded.

Netbooks

Let’s start with the netbook segment, the area AMD didn’t even have a chip to even attempt to compete with Intel. AMD has the1.2GHz single core V105 on offer to go up against the Intel Atom based processors. ‘Wait doesn’t the Atom run at 1.6GHz’ you ask? It is true that AMD’s processor has a lower clock speed. But unlike the Atom, the V105 is based off of the same architecture of the full sized chips. The Atom is a stripped down chip and therefor AMD should be able to provide a better overall computing experience.

The other factor to consider is the chipset that is paired with the processor. Intel still has not included a graphics chip the can decode video. AMD however is pairing an ATI Radeon HD 4225 and gives it the ability to playback 1080p smoothly. ‘Does one really need 1080p on a netbook’ you ask? It really only becomes something to consider if you want to connect it to your HDTV through the HDMI port.

So far this looks to kick the crap out of Intel’s offering till you look at the power usage. It states 9W under TDP (Thermal Design Power), that’s 4 more watts than Intel and Intel includes the chipset within that envelope as well. Intel will destroy AMD when it comes to battery life, which is sticking to AMD’s tradition. Which chip you buy will ultimately depend on what you want to do with your netbook, multimedia or word processing?

Ultra-Portable Notebook

AMD has been using their Neo processor’s in this segment and it offered similar performance to Intel’s ultra-low voltage chips. One area where Intel always won was in battery life and thermal characteristics. The older AMD Neo chips had a TDP range of 15 – 18W. This time around they increased the clock speed and were able to shave off 3W.

While an improvement is nice to see it still unfortunately doesn’t compare to what Intel has with their 10W Core 2 Duo or their 13 – 18W Core i3, i5 and i7. The new chips incorporate their graphics chip with their higher 18W numbers so it should even out. Intel still has the longest battery life with the Core 2 Duo and the best performance with the Core i3. i5 and i7 chips. Again we see AMD’s superior graphics chip as the one improvement they offer. This will be the most important segment over the next year or two for notebooks.

Full Size Notebooks

The Phenom II will replace the old Athlon X2, Turion X2 and Turion X2 Ultra. The V120 will be your budget entry level notebook while the dual, triple and quad core Phenom II will offer everything they need from everyday multitasking to high end production work. The black edition chips are aimed at the premium end of the laptop segment. They will make great desktop replacements for production use or gaming. They look to be strong in this segment, buts it’s the least important segment due to its lack of growth.

External Graphics

AMD’s external graphics is known as XGP. The idea is that the user could have an external box that houses a regular desktop PCI Express graphics card that connects to your notebook. You can than carry around you notebook or ultra-thin for work during the day and dock it to the XGP at night for some full fledge gaming. It allows you to carry around a much smaller notebook with far better battery when you need the portability. It also gives you an easy way to upgrade your graphics and extend the life your computer. I have always wanted something like this for notebooks and it has yet to materialize. Here is to hoping AMD can make it happen.

Conclusion

At a minimum AMD now has a full lineup of chips that will allow them to offer a product in every category of portable computing. I will have to wait and see some benchmarks and battery life comparisons before I can truly make a judgment. From the specs and information I have read I think AMD should be happy with what they have to offer. But they need to hurry up and get the Fusion platform to market for any chance to overtake Intel and actually compete rather than just play catch up.

Dave Loft

%d bloggers like this: