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Firstlook: Raspberry Pi, a USB computer for $25

Last updated on: May 10, 2011 14:07 IST

Firstlook: Raspberry Pi, a USB computer for $25

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ThinkDigit.com

Veteran game developer David Braben has developed an inexpensive mini-computer for students and enthusiasts, called the Raspberry Pi. For now, no real packaging has been shown, and as it stands, the $ 25 Raspberry Pi computer looks like nothing more than a small printed circuit board with a USB and HDMI port -- in between the two, lies an ARM processor.

How does the computer work?

Plug in a USB keyboard at one end, and a monitor via an HDMI cable at the other. Just like the kit computers of yesteryear, Braben intends for the Raspberry Pi to become an educational device that encourage tinkering and fosters creativity and interest in the field of electronics and programming.

While we are not too hopeful the device will actually inspire future generations, it will certainly make a lot of us older tech enthusiasts very happy, and warm up our soldering irons. Braben and team are currently working hard to bring out a new prototype that's cheaper and more reliable. Check out the specifications below:

  • CPU: 700MHz ARM11 processor
  • Memory: 128MB SDRAM
  • Standards Supported: OpenGL ES 2.0, 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Bundled software: Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
  • Connectivity: Composite and HDMI video output, USB 2.0, SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot, general-purpose I/O

NEXT: Samsung Infuse 4G

 

 

 


Image: Raspberry Pi
Photographs: ThinkDigit.com
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Samsung Infuse 4G -- Super AMOLED Plus 4.5-inch Android phone launched in US

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Samsung has just introduced a new Android device (I997) into the American market, a monster of a phone called the Samsung Infuse 4G -- with an extra large 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. Launching with AT&T, the Infuse 4G will bizarrely run Android 2.2 Froyo, instead of Gingerbread, like its smaller Super AMOLED Plus sibling -- the Galaxy S II. An update to Android 2.3 has been announced though.

The larger 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display has the same 480x800 resolution as the Galaxy S II's 4.3-inch screen. As for the rest of the specs, there are quite a few differences, with the a 1.2 GHz single-core processor (Hummingbird) powering the setup.

As for RAM, reports are conflicting anywhere between 512MB and 1GB, while its reported 1080p HD video recording capable 8MP rear camera might be capable of just 720p HD. The front-facing camera is a regular 1.3 MP webcam compared to the S2's 2 MP offering.

The Infuse 4G will not be available in different storage configurations -- just 16GB built-in with 32GB expandable via microSD (2GB included). It has a larger 1750 mAh battery, promising up to 400 hours of standby time and 8 hours of talk time. Since the Samsung Infuse 4G is not running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, it looks like Samsung has included TouchWiz 3.0 UI instead of 4.0.

For now, the model has only been announced for the United States (due out on May 15). We are hopeful however that a Gingerbread-loaded 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus single-core will make its way to global shores soon enough.

NEXT: New generation of Xperia Mini and Mini Pro

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

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Image: Samsung Infuse 4G

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New generation of Xperia Mini and Mini Pro released by Sony Ericsson

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Sony Ericsson has just announced a brand new pair of tiny Android based Xperia smartphones. The new Xperia Mini will run Android Gingerbread (2.3) on a 3-inch, multi-touch, scratch-resistant display, which comes with Sony's proprietary Bravia Engine with Reality Display. There's a 1GHz processor inside with access to Android Market.

A larger cell may result in a 30 per cent improvement in battery life too. Sony Ericsson is also pretty excited about having the world's smallest smartphone capable of recording video in 720p HD. You'll be able to grab yours in one of four different colors this August.

The new Xperia Mini Pro also features the same processor, display and battery as Xperia Mini, but it adds a front-facing camera and that sliding QWERTY keyboard that made the original X10 Mini Pro such a favourite. The new model will be available for you to lay your hands on this Q3 or maybe even Q4.

NEXT: Google's Honeycomb-optimised Google Earth

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Image: Xperia Mini

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Google releases Honeycomb-optimised Google Earth

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Though there are not a lot of Android apps which have been optimised for Honeycomb-based tablets, this gap has now started to fill and no prize to guess the starter of this trend. Yup, it's Google.

Google recently launched the Honeycomb-optimised version of Google Earth which adds up features that allow the users to view textured 3D buildings from street level and a bar to jump between layers among other things.

Google has also announced that its new Business Photos feature for Google Maps (Places, specifically) will begin to roll out next week, offering what's effectively Street View for the inside of retailers and other buildings -- with the owner's permission, of course.

NEXT: Blackberry Protect

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Image: Google releases Honeycomb-optimised Google Earth

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Blackberry Protect: The smart business phone becomes smarter

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With the Protect service now available, Blackberry users can finally feel at par with iOS and Android users. Blackberry Protect works well, and is a must have app on any Blackberry smartphone. However, we wouldn't recommend you give up the desktop backup software altogether.

Pros

  • Simple backup and restore service
  • Ring a misplaced phone feature

Cons

  • Locate phone via GPS doesn't work very well

While the Apple iPhone users had the MobileMe service and Android users could back up contacts and other data to their Google account, Blackberry smartphones were conspicuously missing out on such a service. For a smartphone family that is targeted at the corporate users, the fact that this feature was not available was a bit of a surprise.

However, the wrongs have been corrected. The Blackberry Protect service, after a long period of testing, has finally been rolled out to the users. Let us see how good it actually is, since there is a lot resting on this app, as far as data backup and restore features are concerned. We tested this app on the Blackberry Bold 9780.

NEXT: How to get BlackBerry Protect

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Image: BlackBerry Bold 9780
Photographs: BlackBerry.com
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Blackberry Protect: The smart business phone becomes smarter

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Well, there are two ways. Either download from the Blackberry App World, or wait for the Blackberry Protect logo to show up on your home screen, taking you automatically to the download page. The download size is just above 2 MB, which isn't much if you use the Wi-Fi or 3G to download, but will take a while on a GPRS/EDGE network.

Once downloaded, the Protect logo, which aptly looks like a shield, will be placed either on the menu list, or in the applications folder. You can place it anywhere you want to, anyway.

Interface

Typical Blackberry's look and feel here, with the dark blue and black interface. On the first screen are the basic details the account you have linked this to (essentially, your Blackberry account), the date of the last backup was done on, the next backup scheduled date (depending on the duration you select), whether to back up only using a Wi-Fi network and whether to allow backup while on roaming.

Below this information are three icons, which are backup, restore and status messages regarding the service.

NEXT: Performance

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Image: BlackBerry Protect

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Blackberry Protect: The smart business phone becomes smarter

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The Blackberry Protect service can backup contacts, calendars, tasks, memos, browser bookmarks and text messages. However, these can be configured according to your requirement, as to whether you need to backup any of these or not. Once everything is configured, click on backup, and the service will create a backup of everything you have selected, on to the server.

The app will show the progress of the backup, and usually takes about two minutes to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of data which is being sent to the server (on the GPRS/EDGE network).

Once this is done, you can head off to the URL http://www.blackberry.com/protect and access the account there.

Weirdly, you will not see a list of your contacts there, or access your messages and documents. Backup data from an Android phone to the Google account, and you can see contacts, messages and documents whenever accessed.

What the web service also offers is features like 'ring misplaced phone', detect lost phone and even send SMS to Blackberry device. The ring feature, when activated there, will turn your Blackberry's profile to Loud, and emit a loud ring till you cancel the command from the phone.

This is useful, if you have misplaced a phone under a tower of files, or in a bag full of stuff! The locate feature utilises GPS to track a lost phone.

However, a couple of issues here: one, the GPS feature on the phone has to remain switched on and two, it doesn't work if the lost phone is currently inside a building. The third feature of sending a display message to the Blackberry works well, but cannot really see the point of that service, unless you want to send messages to either yourself, or threaten someone who has stolen your phone!

Our take

Finally, Blackberry phones get an integrated backup and restore service. Much awaited, much tested, and thankfully, works very well. However, while an online backup and restore service is welcome, it should just act as a second layer of data backup. We suggest you use the desktop software regularly to backup contacts etc. just to be on the safe side.

Price: Free

Specifications

Online backup service, restore from backup, auto-backup, access via app and web browser, ring lost phone feature, detect stolen phone via GPS, send display message to BB device, works with all Blackberry smartphones.

Ratings:

  • Features: 6.5
  • Performance: 7.25
  • Build: 7.5
  • Value: 8
  • Overall: 7.5

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

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Are you a gadget/gaming wizard? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard' and we will get in touch with you


Image: BlackBerry Protect

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