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Samsung shows off new super slim Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1

Last updated on: March 28, 2011 15:19 IST

Samsung shows off super slim Galaxy Tab 8.9

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Abhinav Lal, ThinkDigit.com

The Samsung Mobile unpacked 2011 CTIA event was meant to introduce the world to just the Galaxy Tab 8.9, but Samsung had a surprise in store -- a completely new Galaxy Tab 10.1 than it had shown off at MWC 2011, with a fancy new slim design that's thinner than Apple's latest iPad. Admittedly, the iPad 2 is the device to beat, and this isn't the first time Samsung has taken a pill from Apple's diet designs -- the MacBook Air openly inspired the Samsung 9 Series laptops after all.

The two Honeycomb tablets have been given competitive prices pegged to the iPad 2, with the 16GB WiFi-only 10.1-inch model priced at $499 and the 32GB model at $599, while the 16GB WiFi-only 8.9-inch model will retail for $469, and the 32GB model for $569.

For now, only WiFi models of the two tablets have been announced, though 3G and 4G HSPA+ tablets were detailed.

The WiFi-only Galaxy Tab 10.1 is scheduled to hit shelves in the U.S. on June 8th, and the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab 8.9 has been given an 'early summer' or July-August arrival.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
Photographs: ThinkDigit.com
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Samsung shows off new super slim Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1

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While Samsung has still not revealed exact nature of the 1GHz dual-core application processor that powers both tablets, it's still assumed to be Nvidia's Tegra 2 offering. Both tablets are thinner than the 8.8mm thick iPad 2, measuring just 8.6mm.

The large 6000 mAh and 6860 mAh batteries that power the devices are expected to give about 10 hours of video playback. Both tablets also pack Wi-Fi a/b/g/n connectivity, will support Flash 10.2, and have dual speakers for stereo surround sound.

As confirmed in yesterday's leak, both the 10.1 and 8.9-inch tablet have an impressive WXGA 1280x800 resolution screen, and both feature Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI onboard. While this last fact has bothered many, Engadget reports that a few additions and features were actually quite useful, such as the ability to resize widgets, both its own Live Panel and Google's native widgets. The Mini Apps Tray was also deemed useful, but redundant in the fact of Google's app launcher.

Samsung has also thoroughly customized the native apps in the Galaxy S-style. The CTIA event also showcased some TouchWiz 4.0 features like Readers Hub, Social Hub, and Games Hub. Some regions can expect vanilla versions of the tablets however.

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Image: Samsung galaxy Tab 10.1

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Indian enthusiast makes Kinect for PS3

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An Indian tech blogger named Shantanu Goel is currently working on a project to integrate the Microsoft Kinect device with a Sony PlayStation 3 console. He is using a completely unmodified PS3 unit, so while this is still a Kinect hack, it is apparently not a PS3 hack. He has met with some success already, and has uploaded a video showing some control over the native XMB interface, as well as the PS3 exclusive game Killzone 3.

For those interested in learning just how Shantanu interfaced the Kinect for PS3, read more at his blog, or, if you are familiar with the emulation process, download the source code directly from here.

While the overall implementation is still not very usuable, work on the project is ongoing, and apart from better skeletal tracking, his 'to do' list includes creating complete menu and game profiles, enabling switching between the two, and more.

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HTC announces Android glasses-free EVO 3D phone, new EVO View 4G tablet

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Looks like HTC is going to join LG, Nintendo, and Sharp as major manufacturers of portable glasses free 3D gadgets, by announcing the CDMA-based EVO 3D for Sprint, a major American carrier. Depending on its reception when it launches in the third quarter, HTC will probably bring a GSM version of the device to other territories as well.

The EVO 3D has a 4.3-inch qHD (540x960 pixels) 3D display coupled with dual 5MP cameras at the back to record stereoscopic 720p HD video, and 2MP 3D still shots. Running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the EVO 3D packs a 1.2GHz dual-core processor that is coupled with an Adreno 220 graphics chipset, and an entire gigabyte of RAM. As always, HTC Sense is skinned over Android, bringing its new HTCSense.com features.

The HTC EVO 3D has an extra large 1730 mAh battery that's rated to provide up to 7.5 hours of talktime. A GSM offering is already listed up on HTC's site, but there are no details as to carriers or launch regions. The 4.3-inch phone is not diminutive, and weighs a hefty 170 grams. It offers the latest connectivity options, with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, and even a MHL port that works for USB and HDMI.

HTC also announced another 7-inch tablet, essentially the same as the HTC Flyer, except that it bears both CDMA and WiMAX radios, and, its aluminium unibody is black instead of the silver of the Flyer. It bears the same specs all around -- the same 1.5GHz single-core processor, Gingerbread OS, and 1024x600-pixel screen.

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Image: HTC Android Evo

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Samsung Google Nexus S listed for pre-order in India, expected in early April

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Looks like the elusive Google Nexus S is finally on its way to India, as listed is on Flipkart's online retail shelves for pre-order. Priced at Rs. 27,999, the Samsung Google Nexus S was the platform lead device for Android Gingerbread, Google's latest mobile operating system, and as such, it sports some pretty impressive specifications all around, including an NFC chip, but lacks a dual-core processor.

The estimated release date of the Google Nexus S as listed on Flipkart is early April, and if it arrives by then, it would be in the markets ahead of Galaxy S II phone, which also sports Gingerbread, as well as a dual-core processor in addition. The Nexus S has already received an update to the latest Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 though.

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Image: Samsung Google Nexus S

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Intel Insider to launch soon, brings exclusive digital content to Sandy Bridge owners

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Intel has launched Intel Insider, a hardware-tied digital content platform that is available only to those users with a second-generation Intel Core or Sandy Bridge processor in their machines. Built-in to the chipset, the Intel Insider hardware will give you access to view, purchase, or rent digital content from numerous providers across the world, as well as most relevantly, Bollywood and other Indian content.

While the service was first introduced with the launch of the Sandy Bridge processors (see our previous coverage here), along with a list of major content partners, Intel's current announcement declares the access to the service will be available within a month. All users will have to do is to point their Sandy Bridge computers to the Intel Insider content partner sites, and get special viewing privileges.

As expected, the allure is great for digital content providers to have a widespread distribution platform that is tied to branded hardware, and Intel has taken advantage of that willingness to offer some incredible features to Sandy Bridge owners. Not only will users be able to exclusively download and watch protected HD content online, but they will also be able to watch and download movies as soon as they release in the theatres, or soon after, before the rest of the online world.

Intel is calling the feature a 'proactive queue', where Sandy Bridge owners will be able to purchase movies ahead of their global release, and watch or download a DRM-locked HD copy of it as soon as it releases. This is true for Bollywood movies as well, for Intel has tied up with Hungama Digital Entertainment to offer movies and music from such publishers as Paramount Pictures, Reliance Home Video, T-Series and Yash Raj Films.

On launch day, which Hungama says will be in the matter of three weeks, Sandy Bridge owners will have access to 50 films in total from its new portal, with 16 films from Yash Raj Films, 29 films from Paramount Pictures, 5 films from Reliance Home Video, and 6 films from T-Series. Hungama calls the pro-active queue feature 'pre-download.'

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Image: Intel Insider

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HTC Incredible S launched in India with Super LCD screen, for Rs 28,990

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HTC has unexpectedly launched the Incredible S smartphone in India, a little over a month after its international debut at MWC 2011. Pricing the Android 2.2 Froyo-based smartphone at Rs. 28,990 (MOP), HTC has already promised a Gingerbread update for the phone soon, in the second quarter of 2011. We expect an Android 2.4 update to follow soon after, if the company sticks to its word.

The HTC Incredible S is the updated version of the company's popular Incredible model, and has a large 4-inch display, which has surprisingly remained a Super LCD screen on its journey to India, unlike the Desire HD and Desire Z. It is based on the Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset, featuring a 1GHz Scorpion processor, and the Adreno 205 GPU. It operates on 768MB of RAM, and 1.1GB of ROM. It has an 8MP autofocus camera onboard, equipped with dual-LED flash and image stabilization, which is also capable of recording 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. It also has a secondary front-facing 1.3MP camera for video calls.

A 3G-capable phone (HSDPA, 14.4 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps), the HTC Incredible S also supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA, and Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and EDR. Surprisingly, at its price, the phone comes without a document editor bundled onboard, though a document viewer is provided. It has a 1450 mAh Li-ion battery that is rated to deliver up to 370 hours of standby time (3G), and 9 hours 40 minutes of talk time (2G).

According to the press release, the Incredible S also features stereo surround sound, as well as dual microphones for active noise cancellation. HTC also proudly introduced the special UI auto-rotate feature of the Incredible S its touch-sensitive controls for the default Android keys (home, menu, back and search) automatically rotate themselves based on the phone's orientation.

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Image: HTC Incredible S

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RIM confirms 'BlackBerry PlayBook to support BlackBerry Java and Android apps'

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RIM has confirmed that its upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet that's based on the QNX-designed BlackBerry Tablet OS will have access to Android apps. To be very specific however, this does not mean that the PlayBook will have access to the Android Market.

Instead, RIM will provide certain Android applications at its BlackBerry App World, which have been ported by third-parties.

The message to take away here is RIM's veiled announcement to developers -- port popular BlackBerry Java and Android apps to the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture-based BlackBerry Tablet OS!

The operating systems have a 'high degree of API compatibility' according to RIM, making the job of porting much simpler. The ports however, will work in a sandbox environment.

RIM says it will be launching "two optional 'app players' that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook."

As is evident, RIM has now joined the recent trend of companies taking advantage of the rapid growth of the Android platform and ecosystem, with Amazon also taking the call a few days ago to offer Android users an Amazon-branded app store Amazon Appstore for Android.

RIM also revealed that the BlackBerry Tablet OS will have native C/C++ development support added, in addition to HTML5, Flash and AIR support. It has also partnered with some of the leading game engines, including Ideaworks Labs (AirPlay) and Unity Technologies (Unity 3).

PlayBook and future QNX-based BlackBerry users really have nothing to lose from this move, while Google is probably sniggering at how this open call to leach apps from the Android Market is only going to drive its growth harder. The PlayBook, releasing on April 19th, will also support BlackBerry Java applications.

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Image: BlackBerry PlayBook

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Facebook now owns popular free mobile app developer, Snaptu

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Facebook has acquired Snaptu, an Israeli mobile application developer that is responsible for one of the most popular free social-networking applications. Snaptu works on nearly any Internet-enable mobile phone, allowing users to access a variety of social networking services, from Facebook to Picasa, Orkut, Flickr and Twitter, as well as news, guides, and blogs, all as individual apps. The Facebook acquisition is estimated to have cost between $60 and $70 million.

Snaptu's secret to universality is the fact that handles all the processing of its apps on the server side. Since its early days, Snaptu had been working closely with all the popular networking brands, but in recent times, has also developed single-branded low-end apps for many of them, including Facebook which was released back in January this year. Note, there's also a Facebook Zero, separate from Snaptu's Facebok app. The app has already enjoyed much success, and is said to be compatible with over 2,500 different devices. Other companies for which Snaptu developed low-end applications include LinkedIn, CricInfo, Twitter, and more.

What of course remains to be seen is if Facebook will allow Snaptu to continue developing and selling these other applications, or will it put all of Snaptu's resources to work on Facebook products.

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Image: Facebook and Snaptu

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Samsung Galaxy S II Mini spotted online, boasting impressive specifications

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News of a new Samsung Android device has started doing rounds after U.K. carrier, Three, leaked it amongst other upcoming devices on its spring-summer roadmap of devices. Called the Galaxy S II Mini, the name implies this would be the smaller and cheaper version of Samsung's top-end yet-to-be-released smartphone, the Galaxy S II, also bearing Android Gingerbread.

Somehow however, the specs being listed are definitely not under-powered, with a decently sized 3.7-inch screen, a 1.4GHz single core processor, Wi-Fi hotspot support, as well as 21Mbps HSPA+ connectivity. Quite impressive for a 'mini' device has the future arrived so soon?

Other items to be leaked from Three's roadmap include the Galaxy S II, the never officially confirmed Nokia X7, the announced HTC Flyer tablet, and the eagerly awaited BlackBerry PlayBook.

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Image: Samsung Galaxy S II Mini

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Lenovo brings new laptops, all-in-one PCs and business desktops to India

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Lenovo has brought to India many of the new laptops it introduced has introduced since CES 2011 this year, including its range of all-in-one PCs and enterprise desktops, sporting the latest second-generation Intel Core Sandy Bridge processors or Fusion APUs. All the models are already available at various retail outlets across the country.

The laptops include two new models in the IdeaPad series, namely the entry-level 14-inch IdeaPad G570 (prices starting from Rs. 30,490), and the mid-range and stylish 15.6-inch IdeaPad Z570 (prices starting from Rs. 33,190). Both come with Sandy Bridge processor options up to Core i7 processors and 8GB of RAM, though the G570 also has the option of an AMD Brazos Fusion APU.

Lenovo also introduced two new 14-inch models in the ThinkPad series of enterprise laptops the ThinkPad L420 (prices starting at Rs. 64,195) and ThinkPad T420 (prices starting at Rs. 83,322). Both are rugged, and adhere to military specifications. The laptops are also eco-friendly, fully recyclable and power-efficient. The ThinkPad T420 can sport up to a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M CPU, and features Nvidia Optimus graphics switching for better battery life. It also has improved audio sound, becoming the first business-class laptop to offer Dolby Home Theater v4, with virtualized surround sound and dialog enhancement technology. The ThinkPad L420 is an entry-level business laptop with Intel HD graphics that can be configured with up to a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M CPU and a maximum of 8GB of DDR3 memory.

Lenovo has also unexpectedly released three models of A and B series All-in-One PCs in India, which were only expected to arrive in June. The new models include the A320, B320 and B520, all of which feature Intel Sandy Bridge processors. Both the A320 and B320 have 21.5-inch full HD widescreen displays and sport Core i5 processors and up to 8GB of RAM. The B520 however has a 23-inch full HD display and a Core i7 processor, and can sport up to 16GB of RAM. No official prices are available at the moment however.

The Lenovo M91 ThinkCentre business desktop range was also launched, with enterprise features like a Hardware Password Manager for additional security. No official prices are available for these either.

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Image: Lenovo laptops

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