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Showing posts from September, 2011

Amazon Fires Kindle Into Tablet Wars

I'm not convinced by Amazon's new Kindle tablet. It's being painted as the tablet to kill the iPad, Tab and other similar devices on the market. It will definitely sell - but only on price. Otherwise how is it a better product than my current Galaxy Tab 7?

That has access to all of Amazon's content via their Android apps, has cameras front and back and can make full use of the 3G network. Plus it gets full access to the Google market and selection of high quality apps.

Amazon have certainly built a good value tablet, but is it actually a good tablet? Take price out of the equation and you'd pick the iPad, Tab, Xoom or indeed just about any other tablet in preference.

If you're after an eBook reader rather than a tablet then the new £89 entry level e-ink Kindle is much more suitable for the role and cheaper to boot.

What Amazon has created is the tablet to wipe out all those cheap unbranded tablets that importers have been bringing in from China on a regular b…

Blackberry Bold 9900

I've yet to be convinced by the Blackberry platform, neither the software nor hardware ever matched my expectations of what a smart mobile tool should aspire to.

Nonetheless there has been the occasional handset that RIM have managed to get to market which has impressed in some form or another.

Having had my first hands-on with the Bold 9900 I can say that it's certainly one of those handsets that has piqued my interest. Version 7 of the RIM OS seems infinitely more usable than what has preceded it and this looks like something of a recovery for the Canadian firm.

The question that springs to mind is whether RIM has left its recovery too late? With Apple and Google ploughing through its market share and Microsoft about to plunge significant amounts of marketing dollar into making it's new WP7.5 a success, RIM has some difficult times ahead, irrespective of the quality of the products.

This Will Make You Wince...

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HP Craziness Steps Up Another Gear

Hewlett-Packard has had a crazy few years, since Carly Fiorina's appointment as Chief Executive the whole business has taken on the mantle of a man on the edge of a breakdown. The recruitment of former SAP executive Leo Apotheker as the latest CEO just underlined that.

Now, having decimated HP's credibility as a hardware manufacturer by killing Tablet, PC and mobile businesses within the organisation, Apotheker has been canned by the board. Presumably the same board that backed his attempts to turn HP into another SAP or IBM.

If HP were human it would be crouched down in a dark corner, rocking on its heels, dribbling from its mouth and occasionally shouting random swearwords at the top of its voice...

I suggest a merger with that other famous technology company impersonating a mentally ill person: Yahoo.

Samsung Galaxy S2 Ad Makes Point Well

I'm pretty sure that Samsung's new Galaxy S2 is the best smartphone you can buy today (and in the current fast moving climate that's about as a strong a recommendation as you can make) and this ad does a pretty good job of demonstrating why without getting all number heavy.

Android Tablets Starting To Take iPad Market

Whilst the iPad 2 remains the king of the tablet market, things are starting to get a bit more competitive. Android tablets now account for a quarter of the market and that share is growing quarter by quarter.

Best selling Android tablet is the original Galaxy Tab with 6% of the market. The wide variety of Android tablets now in the market means that their market share looks like the old 'long-tail' distribution curve.

Apple's legal battles to halt the competition don't seem to be having an effect with the result probably being similar to the smartphone market, where the iPhone is struggling to compete with Android.

F1: What Constitutes Blocking?

Bit of a media frenzy over the battle between Hamilton and Schumacher at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. Over the course of the first half of the race Schumacher was able to keep Hamilton behind him with some quite defensive driving and inspired positioning of his car through Monza's high speed corners.

Two moves have been called into question however, the first where Hamilton was forced onto the grass at the 170mph Curva Grande and the second approaching the tricky Lesmo corners where observers suggest the German changed line twice to defend his position, contrary to the rules which only allow one such change.

The first incident isn't worth discussing. Hamilton was never alongside Schumacher who therefore had the right to take his line through the corner, with the rule book requiring the following car to yield in these circumstances.

The second incident is harder to call. Schumacher makes a move to the right to block Hamilton, then moves back to the left to take the na…

Sierra Alpha Alpha... Bankrupt?

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Looks like the end of the road for Saab, after its native bankruptcy court refused to grant it protection from its creditors.

Ever since the company was bought by GM the writing has been on the wall. Saab's appeal was its go it alone attitude, which produced unique, if quirky cars. That appeal has gradually tarnished with the release of new cars less and less distinguishable from the Vauxhall's they were based on. The brand's reputation for building bullet proof cars was going down the toilet too. I drove a two-year old 9-3 earlier this year and there were so many rattling pieces of trim I was worried it was going to fall apart before I reached my destination. By comparison I last drove a pre-GM 900-T16 at fifteen years old that would have passed muster at many new car PDIs.

Its a tough sell, Saab can't compete with the Germans in the premium sector, there are any number of better tier two marques out there and rock-cliff depreciation should be enough to put off any re…

New British Super-SUV Is Anything But

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If you're looking at this picture thinking Porsche Cayenne with a ropey bodykit you'd be wrong. Its an Eterniti Hemera. Or translated from South London-Chav: Porsche Cayenne with a ropey bodykit.

Its clearly an attempt to create a brand equivalent to the Overfinch range of Range Rovers. Problem is that the Cayenne is a fugly piece of machinery at the best of times and the Eterniti turns the fugly up to 11.

Frankly there are far too many people doing bad bling jobs on the Cayenne and this one definitely deserves to disappear without a trace.

Want a big, fast SUV? Buy a Range Rover Sport and retain your dignity.

Gullible? You bet...

I'm not sure if this is a comment of the stupidity of the population in general, smartphone owners or just a small sub-section of the same, it tells us something though.

15,000 iPhone owners purchased apps from the app store which claimed to cure their acne. Stop, go back and read that again. Shocked? Me too. So were the FTC in the US, they have now forced the makers of these apps to withdraw their claims.

No word on whether Apple will be refunding these poor saps, but given that the app clearly can't do what it claims to do I'd advise any UK based purchasers to pursue a refund under the Sale of Goods act.

How did this get through Apple's 'rigorous' vetting procedure, are their similar apps in other device stores and just how bad does your acne have to be to be this desperate? I think we should be told...

Project Gutenberg Founder Dies

Michael S Hart who basically invented the eBook back in the seventies has died at the age of 64. He was also the first to build on the eBook with the concept of the electronic library, the result being Project Gutenberg.

Hart's project to create an online repository of literary works took many years to get going, not least because until early handhelds arrived in the nineties there wasn't a usable tool for reading on the go. Early tools such as Project Newtonberg, which gave Apple Newton owners access to the service helped to spread its popularity and today more than 35,000 books populate the virtual library.

Hart's ambition was to make eBooks as available as the air that we breathe and in that respect I think we have to say that he has succeeded beyond measure. Kindles, Nooks and other ereaders owe there existence to his pioneering work.

That's quite some legacy.

Galaxy Tab 7.7 Disappears From Berlin

Just one day after being announced Samsung has pulled the new 7.7" version of it's Tab from it's stand at IFA. No word on why but no guesses as to who is behind it.

Bizarre really as there seems to be no mention of anything but the Tab 10.1 in the temporary restraining order in effect in Germany...

New Land Rover Defender Concept Promises Much

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The image above represents step one in a four year journey to replace
the venerable Land Rover Defender. Jaguar Land Rover have probably got
the most difficult task since BMW designed the Mini and the DC100 (as
this concept is known) will appear at Frankfurt later this month to
gauge public reaction.

Personally I'm quite pleased with the look of this concept, however
numerous readers of motoring websites haven't given it quite as good a
reaction. Still, that's one of the reasons thr JLR are putting this
out there.

The guys at Kilometre magazine have used this image to create long
wheel base and crew cab versions of the concept car and to my eyes
these look even better then the three door (which had a hint of Skoda
Yeti around the rear profile) so it certainly feels like it could be
as flexible as the current Defender in that respect.

Roll on Frankfurt, when we can get a proper look at the concept in the
metal and form some proper opinions.

HTC Announces First Mango Phones

HTC officially outed it's two new WP7.5 devices today, with
availability touted for the beginning of October, in the UK at least.
The two phones cover the high and middle ground of the smartphone
market. The Titan sports a 4.7" SLCD screen, a large aperture, backlit
8m pixel main camera and 1.3m pixel forward facing camera for video
chat. Power comes from a 1.5GHz single core processor and the chassis
is the latest version of HTC's unibody aluminium construction.
Apart from confirming the trend to large footprint, super skinny
phones the Titan looks like being a pretty impressive entry for Mango
flavoured phones into the European market.
Nokia and Samsung will have to go some to come up with a more
impressive round 2 Windows Phone...

Galaxy Note Validates Streak, Just As Dell Kills It!

Dell had ploughed a lonely furrow with the Streak, dismissed as too
small for a tablet and too big for a smartphone by those who didn't
get it.
Samsung apparently saw the unique capabilities of the five inch form
factor and as a result the rather fantastic looking Galaxy Note has
been announced today packing similar dimensions and screen size.
Shame it comes as Dell has EOL'ed the Streak with no likely
replacement on it's way either...