At Research In Motion's annual BlackBerry Developer Conference, CEOMike Lazaridis announced the company's new tablet -- the PlayBook. The tablet will utilize an OS created by the recently acquiredQNX(just as we'd heard previous to the announcement) called the BlackBerry Tablet OS which will offer full OpenGL and POSIX support alongside web standards such as HTML5 (which is all tied into RIM's newWebWorksSDK). Lazaridis was joined on stage by the company's founder, Dan Dodge, who said that "QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before," and added that the PlayBook would be "an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players." RIM also touted the PlayBook's ability to handle Flash content via Flash 10.1, as well as Adobe AIR apps. The new slate -- which Lazaridis described as "the first professional tablet" -- will sport a 7-inch, 1024 x 600, capacitive multitouch display, a Cortex A9-based, dual-core 1GHz CPU (the company calls it the "fastest tablet ever"), 1GB of RAM, and a 3 megapixel front-facing camera along with a 5 megapixel rear lens (and yes, there will be video conferencing). There was no mention of onboard storage capacity during the keynote, though the devices we just spied inour eyes-on postare labeled 16GB and 32GB on their back panels. The PlayBook will be capable of 1080p HD video, and comes equipped with an HDMI port as well as a microUSB jack, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1. The device clocks in at a svelte 5.1- by 7.6-inches, is only 0.4-inches thick, and weighs just 400g (or about 0.9 pounds). In terms of interface, the OS looks like a mashup of webOS and the BlackBerry OS, even allowing for multitasking via what amounts to a "card" view. Interestingly, RIM and QNX boasted of the PlayBook's multimedia and gaming functions, but Mike Lazaridis also described the tablet as "an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry." That's due largely in part to a function of the tablet which allows you to siphon data off of your BlackBerry handset via Bluetooth tethering and display it on your PlayBook (a la the ill-fated PalmFoleo). While the PlayBook doesn't seem to rely on phone content alone, the press release from the company says that users can "use their tablet and smartphone interchangeably without worrying about syncing or duplicating data." RIM didn't hand out any solid launch dates beyond "early 2011," and of course, there was no mention of retail price. We've got a slew of content after the break, including the PlayBook spec rundown, the company's press release, and a full video of the device (and UI) in action -- so take a look!
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Meebo, the web service that offers online instant messaging across multiple social networks has rolled out their BlackBerry client in beta form. Users looking for a better way to keep all their social network friends together can now download the free application to their devices to get started. The application, which uses a custom built UI allows you to access your Meebo account on the go. Since Meebo supports AIM, Yahoo, GTalk and more you shouldn't have to really worry about not being able to stay in touch again. You can learn more about Meebo via their website and if you're wanting to take the application for a spin, registration can be completed on your BlackBerry. Hit the link below to download and view more details about the Meebo for BlackBerry app.
What time is it? Who cares! Apple's newest timepiece puts music, video, photos and step-counting front-and-center, and lets the minutes fall where they may.
Sure, you can check the time, but that's hardly the point with this attractive piece of wrist jewelry. Its unisex design goes equally well with a man's suit, a lady's sweater or a jogging outfit.
One downside: It doesn't come with a watchband, so you'll need to get your own. Fortunately, the clip on the back lets you easily attach it to the strap of your choice.
Unlike almost every other watch we've tested, Apple's Nano has a touch-sensitive, high-resolution LCD display. The interface is a little counterintuitive at first, but it's no more difficult than anything from Tokyo Flash. As a bonus, you can rotate its face with a twisty two-finger gesture, making it work for you in any orientation.
With its Apple heritage, the Nano is a perfectly usable music player. Available in 8-GB ($150) or 16-GB ($170) models, it has plenty of capacity for storing thousands of songs, and its touchscreen provides a simple, if cramped, interface for selecting tracks. (Tip: Use iTunes to organize playlists before syncing. It'll make it easier to find the music you want.)
Sound quality is excellent, though the generic white earbuds Apple includes are nothing to shout about. There's a built-in FM radio player for getting your Ira fix (Flatow and Glass) when podcasts are unavailable.
Sadly, the Nano doesn't support wireless or Bluetooth headphones, so you'll need to route a headphone cable from your wrist to your ears. I recommend running it through your sleeve and under your shirt. This is dorky, but practical. And it kind of makes you feel like you're an extra on The Wire.
The built-in pedometer function sums your steps throughout the day, posting them, if you choose, to Nike's social site for walkers and general fitness, Nike+ Active.
As a timepiece, it's comparable to digital watches circa 1978: The screen is usually in a black, juice-conserving state, so to check the time you need to press the power button. If you haven't set it to "show time on wake," you'll also need to swipe left or right a few screens to find the clock face.
Battery life can also be a problem. Apple says it's rated for 24 hours of music playback. But I left it on a nightstand overnight, only to find it was depleted in the morning. That doesn't happen with other watches.
And yes, I know it's really an iPod. I just really like using it as a wristwatch, despite its drawbacks.
The new iPod touch is almost like an iPhone 4, without the phone. Even thinner than the original, it has a Retina display, Apple A4 processor, gyroscope, and a digital camera, both on the back and for FaceTime.
The main features
Here are the main features of the new iPod touch:
• It has the iPhone's Retina Display, a 3.5-inch IPS-based that has a razor-sharp 326ppi resolution. That's 960 x 640 pixels.
• It can record 720p high definition video and take photos with its back camera.
• It can FaceTime with other iPod touches and iPhone 4s, using its front camera.
• It runs at the same speed of the iPhone 4, using the same Apple A4 chip.
• It incorporates the same 3-axis gyroscope of the iPhone 4, which makes motion tracking more precise than just the accelerometer.
• It will have iOS 4.1 built-in.
• It has a built-in speaker and microphone.
The differences with the previous generation and the iPhone 4
The most obvious differences with the previous generation are the two cameras, a very welcomed—nd demanded—addition to the iPod touch. However, while the back camera can record H.264 video at 720 lines of resolution (720p) and 30 frames per second, the resolution for photography is not as high as the iPhone 4. Just the same 960 x 720 pixels of the video, far from the gorgeous sensor of the iPhone.
It also has the front camera, which is identical to the iPhone 4, capturing VGA at 30 frames per second for videoconferencing action.
A not-so-obvious change is the microphone. The new iPhone is there for FaceTime, but it will have other users as well, like Skype. This new feature may turn the iPod touch into an phone replacement, for those people who don't need to be in constant voice contact—a collective that is increasing quickly, as younger generations move from voice to text-based communication, either via chat, Twitter, or Facebook.
Apple also claims they have increased the amount of playback time to 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video, all while making the package smaller than the previous generation: Just 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.28 inches. For comparison, the previous generation iPod touch was 0.33 inches thick. The weigh is also down to 3.56 ounces (101 grams), from the previous 8 ounces.
What's cool, what's not
Almost everything about the new iPod touch seems quite better than the original. Having cameras is a big plus, as well as the speedy A4 processor—a must-have upgrade for gamers. Along with the new physical dimensions, the iPod touch 4th generation seems like a good upgrade for most users, if it lives up to the real world test. The only disappointment: The low resolution back camera. You will still need to pay the iPhone 4 premium to get a good camera sensor.