Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has finally decided to put an official end to its Zune media player line. “A person familiar with the decision” has informed them that Microsoft will not be putting out any new hardware in the line, and will be henceforward focusing on integrating Zune functionality with the Windows Phone 7 platform.
Not exactly unexpected; the Zune hardware hasn’t changed since mid-2009′s release of the Zune HD, although it has received several significant software upgrades. The writing has been on the wall for a long time, but whether Microsoft would double down (again) or cut their losses was far from clear. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.
Today at this morning’s major Chrome event, Google has just announced that Chrome OS… isn’t done. It still has work to do with camera drivers (for notebook USB ports), finishing Google Cloud Print, and more. But it wants to get the notebook into early adopters’ hands, so it’s announcing a new Pilot Program. Google will be distributing a notebook called Cr-48. These are not for sale, they are designed as a test unit.
Consumers will be able to apply for this, however, but Google isn’t giving it away to just anyone. On its Facebook Fan Page, they ran a promotion a couple days, announcing a sticker for a Chrome laptop, if you did that quiz, you get a notebook. If you go to youtube.com/googlechrome and make a video showing why you’re an ideal candidate for this, you’ll have a chance to snag a notebook. And everyone in the audience at today’s event is getting one (everyone claps). And if you don’t fall into any of those buckets, you can go to this page to apply.
The CR-48 is supposed to boot in 10 seconds, includes a webcam, and 12-inch LCD display. It is 3.8 pounds with 8 hours of battery life and an entire week of standby time, according to Google’s marketing materials. Eventually, manufacturing partners will make Chromebooks you can actually buy in stores.
Google will also be deploying this to some partner businesses, including American Airlines, Kraft, Virgin America, the Department of Defense and more.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, talking at the Web 2.0 conference today, made a couple announcements regarding devices that you, reader, may be interested in hearing. After all, with Android poised to become the most populous mobile OS in the world, any major update is worth discussing.
Gingerbread, as they are calling Android version 2.3 (apparently not 3.0, said to be Honeycomb), was shown off on what appeared to be a Nexus S, which would make sense as the first phone to roll out with the update. New features include near-field communication and potentially face recognition, in addition to the resolution compatibility improvements and other under-the-hood changes.
I bought an Amazon Kindle some time back and posted an article about some of the basic tips and tricks all Kindle users should know about. Having used the Kindle for a while it is clear that while it’s book reading functions take precedence, its creators decided to imbue it with a number of features that tip it into the realm of a “tablet PC”. While it clearly does not have the functionality of an iPad, the Kindle has a set of unique features that makes reading books just a little bit more enjoyable.
In this article I will provide an overview of some of the more interesting features the Kindle has to offer.
1. Browsing the Web
The Kindle was created with one function in mind: to read books. This means that doing anything, aside from reading books, is quite a chore. Nevertheless the Kindle does come with a handy web browser that can be used in a pinch. To launch the web browser press the Menu button on your Kindle.
One thing is clear to me now: GM gets it. Government Motors now understands the importance of cutting edge technology. They understand rapid development processes. But most importantly, the once largest auto maker understands the future. If only they had “gotten it” back at the turn of the century, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in now.
I recently spent some time at a couple GM facilities where in between various PowerPoint presentations mainly about OnStar and the Volt, I was shown several labs and testing areas. All this was neat and about what you would expect: motion simulators, virtual testing, all housed in cold cement buildings. But it was the overall message that instilled hope in me that the automaker born in my hometown of Flint is actually on the right path.
After the grand tour with several fellow journalists we were escorted to a pair of early production Chevy Volts. This is where it all came together. Love it or hate it, the Chevy Volt saved GM and you can’t even buy it yet. Let me explain.
Prepare to get hit by a ton of Sammy marketing. The commercial embedded here is likely just the first wave of Samsung’s assault on the iPad. And it seems that they’re going about it the right way, too.
The commercial simply shows off the Galaxy Tab‘s capabilities in an Apple-ish sort of way. We’ve said all along that if any Android tablet has a chance to steal marketshare away from the iPad, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab and this commercial, along with our extensive hands-on, seems to confirm our thought. Now all we need is to know is its price tag and when it will hit stores.
Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear about a new Android-based tablet in some ever-so-slightly-new size, configuration, or spec. Chances are that every PC manufacturer out there is going to have one, and chances are they’ll all be more or less interchangeable — like the Windows 7 tablets that they often announce at the same time. With the clear exceptions of Apple and HP, most computer-makers don’t seem to be interested in doing anything but getting a product out the door that’s competitive.
This bulk approach to such a personal computer as a tablet has taken the shine off of Android for me — not that it had much to begin with, being an OS designed around a smaller form factor. I love my Android phone, but the idea of Android running on some stock Dell hardware with a little spritz of UI on top really isn’t that attractive to me. I say, bring on the Chrome OS tablets.