The latest update to Skype’s Android application has just been rolled out and a big part of its goodie delivery is two-way video calling. Only a quartet of phones are supported right now: Google’s own Nexus S, HTC’s Desire S, and the Xperia Neo and Pro from Sony Ericsson, all handsets that shipped with Android 2.3 installed. We suspect the rest of the Android world won’t be far behind — Thunderbolt users will surely be wondering why they’re not included in this first batch — but for now it’s just that fearsome foursome. Also included in Skype v126.96.36.199 is a UI overhaul and support for SMS messaging, neither of which suffers from any handset restrictions. Hit up the Android Market on your phone (the web Market still lists version 1) to get at the latest software.
As things get older they tend to get bigger. It’s the same for people, corporations, models of cars, budget deficits… and so it is for webOS. As Palm was in the process of being subsumed its great mobile operating system was being eyed for much broader things, far bigger than the little phones it had previously been flashed on. Things like printers and desktops and laptops, but for its first proper foray outside of a phone it has a tall task: compete in the brutally vicious tablet space.
Its weapon is the TouchPad, a 9.7-inch tablet from HP that got official back in February and will be available July 1st (if you don’t manage to find it earlier) — $499.99 for the 16GB model, $599.99 for 32GB. That’s exactly on parity with the WiFi iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1, current kings of the tablet court. Does this plus-sized Palm progeny really have what it takes to hang at that price point, or is this just a chubby pretender that’s outgrown its britches? Read on to find out.
The first time we saw the rumored Supersonic we were blown away. HTC and Google had just wowed us with the Nexus One, and here we were looking at something even better — a 4.3-inch phone with WiMAX wrapped in a white body. This prototype was buggy and had abysmal battery life, but it was real. Four months later it landed in our hands at Google I/O. We’re of course talking about the EVO 4G which went on to become a runaway hit for HTC and Sprint as the first ever 4G smartphone in the US. And here we are a year later with the HTC EVO 3D, the legitimate heir to Sprint’s mobile kingdom — at least until the Motorola Photon 4G comes along. When we first played with the 3D-capable handset at CTIA we were suitably impressed, but we left with a lot of unanswered questions. How do the 1.2GHz dual core processor and qHD display affect battery life? Is 3D a compelling feature or just a gimmick? What is 2D camera performance like with the lower specced camera? Is the EVO 3D a worthy replacement for the EVO 4G? Find out in our review after the break.
Google’s done a ton of talking about search at its Inside Search event today, and two of the biggest new developments are on the desktop. It’s just announced that Android-style Voice Search is headed to Chrome (with support for English only, initially), and that it will be joined by a new Search by Image feature (also available in Chrome, or Firefox with an extension). To use that latter feature, you simply drag and drop an image or cut and paste an image URL in the search box, and then Google tries its best to recognize it and deliver relevant results — including identifying the location in an old vacation photo, for instance (though Google notes it isn’t doing face recognition). Both features will be rolling out over the next few days, but you can get a glimpse of them now in the demo videos after the break.
In other news, Google’s announced Instant Pages (also demoed after the break), which promises to speed up browsing by prerendering results when its “confident you’re going to click them.” It’s available in the latest developer version of Chrome today, and will also be included in the next public beta. Lastly, Google took the wraps off a number of revisions to its mobile search offerings, including a new set of shortcut icons, enhanced search options, and faster local results when browsing on a phone, as well as some revamped search and image results that have been specifically tailored to tablets — all of which are also rolling out today.
Not that it’ll do you much good in the US — an unlocked iPhone 4 will still only work on AT&T’s 3G bands — but Apple has just started selling its prized smartphone without any carrier partiality on its US online store. The big attraction is, of course, being able to take the phone abroad and switch MicroSIMs to your heart’s content, an experience that most other nations are already well accustomed to. Additionally, though the $649 (16GB) and $749 (32GB) levies may seem rather steep for American buyers, they’re quite a bit more affordable than the unlocked pricing elsewhere. You can have yours within three business days if black’s your color, or three to five if you’re after the snow white one.
Amazon may not be shipping HP’s first webOS tablet until July 17th, but why wait? The outfit itself just affirmed that the long-awaited TouchPad will go on sale to eager Americans on July 1st, with the UK, Ireland, France and Germany a few days later (and Canada in mid-July). Following that, a phased rollout will take it to Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Spain “later this year.” It’ll be on sale pretty much everywhere for $499.99 (16GB) / $599.99 (32GB) — or £399 / £479 across the pond — with pre-orders starting at your favorite e-tailer just ten days from today. For those looking for a highly connected version HP also made clear that it’ll be partnering with AT&T for a 3G (or will it be “4G?”) edition later in the summer. Head on past the break for a look at the full retail partner list, and yeah, yesterday would be a great time to start saving up.
Well it’s about time. Ever since the current generation of consoles has been sat in our living rooms, annual gaming expo E3 has been bereft of any serious hardware announcements. Or at least one that hasn’t been either a handheld or peripheral. E3 2010 was dominated by Microsoft and Sony as they locked into a bizarre battle over who could best imitate the hugely successful Nintendo Wii, which this year has left Nintendo with only one choice: innovate yet again and jump ahead of the pack. The result is Nintendo’s Wii U.
Something for everyone
Nintendo says that this new machine is a revolutionary console and controller duo designed to be “something for everyone,” which in our opinion simply means packing the motion-control aspects of the Wii while also bringing what’s expected (a full compliment of controls and joysticks, for example) for core game styles like shooters and sports titles. With that mission statement in mind, you’d expect things to be graphically up to muster. They are. HD is a welcome (if late) addition, for one
Sony has now officially announced its small form factor interchangeable lens camera, the Sony NEX-C3, and Pocket-Lint got a chance to have a quick play earlier today at a press event in Taipei, Taiwan of all places.
The new design looks great compared to the NEX-3 and NEX-3, mostly due to its more rounded shape, but Sony has somehow managed to shed both weight and a few millimetres here and there on the camera.
It isn’t immensely smaller – it’s just as thick as the NEX-3 – but the body is over 8mm narrower and 2mm shorter. In the grand scheme of things, this is unlikely to matter in actual usage. However, for Sony, it’s all about being able to say that this is the smallest model yet. That said, the rounded shape has improved the grip and with a larger textured surface it’s also less prone to slipping out of your hand.
There’s little doubt that the launch of Windows 8 will bring with it a wave of new tablet devices from all sorts of manufacturers and vendors. But did any of us expect to see one bearing Microsoft’s own logo? According to DigiTimes’ sometimes accurate, sometimes shaky upstream supplier sources, Steve Ballmer’s team is looking into putting together an own-brand Windows 8 slate, which will be powered by Texas Instruments silicon and put together by Taiwan-based ODMs. The deadline for this device is said to be by the end of 2012 and TI’s involvement suggests it’d be one of those newfangled ARM-based Windows machines, but beyond that, we’ve little more to go on. Whatever the outcome, don’t expect Microsoft to go overboard, DigiTimes says the company is “proceeding on a low profile.”
We already knew Windows Phone Mango would include SkyDrive functionality, but Microsoft has now released a few more details on some of the cloud storage features we can expect to see when the update rolls out, later this year. With the update, SkyDrive users will be able to share their stored photos via text message, e-mail or IM, and to upload their videos to the cloud with the touch of a button. They’ll also be able to browse, share and edit uploaded MS Office documents directly from their handhelds, while searching through their entire SkyDrive via the Office Hub. Storage limits remain capped at 25GB, though Microsoft says we should expect to see more cloud-based features roll out in the near future (including a revamped, HTML5-based SkyDrive web interface), so more changes may very well be on the horizon. Soar past the break for some demo videos from Redmond, along with a hands-on clip from WinRumors.