Friday, May 27, 2011

Curved Glass Screen for the iPhone 5?

Already, the rumors about the specs on the Apple iPhone 5 are rolling out. In the latest edition of the Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes, there are reports of the latest edition of Apple's incredibly popular smartphone having a curved glass display screen. The reports said that it would be the same type of screen that has been featured on Apple’s iPod since the fourth-generation iPod Nano was released in 2008.

Now, DigiTimes doesn’t just make this claim out of nowhere. The newspaper cites sources that have something to do with Apple’s supply chain in Taiwan. DigiTimes stated that Apple recently bought 200 to 300 glass-cutting machines that could be used to cut display screens. The report went on to say that Apple had to buy these special glass-cutting machines because “cover glass makers have apparently been reluctant to commit investment to the purchase of glass cutting equipment due to the high capital involved.” The machines are being stored at one of Apple’s assembly plants until it believes that the “yield rates” are satisfactory.

There are several recently released smartphones that have decided to use the curved glass design for their display. Samsung’s Nexus S, LG’s G2x with Google and Samsung’s Galaxy Prevail all have adopted the curved glass. Many people really like the glass that is used on the Nexus S. They say that it feels more comfortable when you hold it up against your face. Engadget said in their review of the Nexus S that the curved glass does not really change the display quality of the phone. Instead, using curved glass shows Apple's focus on aesthetics and “perceived usability.”

The rumors about the iPhone 5 are only going to continue to stack up, especially after the expected June announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple first officially announced the iPhone 4. Details are already beginning to slip out via America’s top mobile companies. Just last week, an AT&T rep told a customer that the iPhone 5 would not make its debut in June or July, and the Verizon CFO let it slip that the next generation Verizon iPhone will work on CDMA and GSM networks.

Until Apple makes the official announcement about the iPhone 5, I guess that we will all have to sit here and speculate and hang on to the slip-ups of the reps and execs at AT&T and Verizon. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long, but who knows? Apple sure likes to keep the details on its products a secret for as long as possible. I guess we’ll just see.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Verizon's HTC Trophy Windows 7 Phone Available May 26

HTC TrophyHey, everybody! Check out the HTC Trophy, Verizon's first Windows Phone set to be available starting May 26th online! However, if buying things online isn't your thing, you can always wait until June 2nd when Verizon ships the HTC Trophy to actual stores so you can buy one in person. In addition to the early online date, Microsoft is also offering a freebie to Verizon customers. Anybody who purchases a Windows Phone from Verizon before July 15th will be eligible to receive a free Xbox 360 game. Customers will be able to choose from one of three titles: Lode Runner, Kinect Sports or Halo Reach.

You can pick up the HTC Trophy online on May 26th or in stores on June 2nd, like I said above, for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. This is all, of course, if you commit to a new 2-year contract with Verizon. Since this is a smartphone, customers will, in addition to picking their talk and text plan, have to sign up for an unlimited data plan for an additional $30 a month. However, Verizon has just confirmed that they plan on eliminating unlimited data plans in lieu of tiered data plans. When this will officially go into action is still unclear though Verizon has stated that it will begin this summer.

This first Windows Phone from Verizon has experienced a tough start in the market. The HTC Trophy was originally expected to launch in March. However, the device was delayed several times for various reasons. Verizon's leaked spring outlook also originally revealed an April 15th release date. However, we saw that date come and go and saw no HTC Trophy. Many Verizon customers have been frustrated by these delays,, customers who are very interested in buying a Windows 7 device.

One good thing is that this Windows Phone will ship with Microsoft's "NoDo" copy and paste update. "NoDo" is Microsoft's first platform update and also includes improved application start-up and resume times. Verizon recently posted support articles that referenced Microsoft's own fixes for issues known to Windows 7 Phones. The HTC Trophy Windows 7 Phone from Verizon was seen out and about back in February with more photos leaking in March following confirmation that the device included all of Verizon's branding.

Full specs of the HTC Trophy include:

  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor

  • WVGA 3.8-inch touchscreen

  • Surround sound through SRS WOW HD

  • 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash

  • 720p HD video capture

  • 16GB on-board storage

  • Wi-Fi connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n

  • Global ready

  • HTC-hub customization via downloadable applications

  • View and Edit Microsoft Office documents

Source: WinRumors - Verizon Windows Phone 7 HTC Trophy officially available May 26

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sound Could Power Your Cell Phone?

This is some of the coolest technology that I’ve heard about in a while. Researchers in South Korea have discovered breakthrough technology that can convert sound into electricity. So what would this do? Well, think about it…one of the most logical things to utilize the technology on would be cell phones.

Can you imagine having a future cell phone that was powered by the sound of your voice? How cool would that be?! This is technology that could really go somewhere. In an interview with the Telegraph, Dr. Sang-Woo Kim said, “Sound power can be used for various novel applications including cellular phones that can be charged during conversations.” It would be extremely nice to not have to worry about your phone dying on you during a long phone conversation.

Dr. Kim and his team have been working on this new method of converting sound into electricity at the Sungkyunkwan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology in Seoul. With this technology, they say that a cell phone could be completely charged by simply talking into it.

So, what if you don’t use your phone much for the purpose of verbally communicating with someone? What if you are more of a texter? No problem at all. Kim says that even when the phone is not making a call and feeding off of your voice, it can still use background noise to power itself.

Now, cell phones are not the only thing that this sound converting technology could be used for though. The researchers also say that people could install "sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles." Now that is even more impressive.

In the high tech industry, “energy scavenging” to power mobile devices is quickly growing in demand. Researchers have been hard at work investigating the possible use of movement or kinetic energy to power devices without the need for a charger or wall socket, but the sound converting technology seems to be the most promising at the moment.

So far, the team at Sungkyunkwan has not yet figured out exactly how to completely power a device via sound, but they are getting very close. The technology itself is comprised of an electrical current that is generated via zinc oxide wires that compress and release whenever a sound wave causes an absorbing pad to vibrate. Kim claims that the technology will only improve as they work to switch out the zinc oxide for different, more efficient, materials.

"Our current output performance can be applied to various electronic devices with low-power consumption such as self-powered sensors and body-implantable tiny devices. We believe that we can realize more efficient sound-driven nanogenerators," Kim told The Telegraph.

According to the Telegraph, the current version of the technology can convert about 100 decibels into 50 millivolts. This sounds pretty good to me so far. Kim promises that he and his team will be hard at work to further develop this incredible new technology. I don’t know about you, but I definitely think that this is some promising technology that we could most certainly see sometime in the future.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Samsung Infuse 4G

Samsung Infuse 4GIf you thought the Droid X was big, wait until you see the newest thing coming out of Samsung and AT&T. I'm talking, of course, about the Samsung Infuse 4G. This device, which some are calling a superphone, is the biggest device to come out of Samsung to date and measures 4.5 inches. And even though it is rather large, it feels surprisingly light when you pick it up. That could be a result of the impressive 8.99mm profile with subtly textured backside, however.

The Samsung Infuse 4G is said to come with a Super AMOLED Plus display just like the smaller Droid Charge. The Super AMOLED Plus display is said to be much brighter than the traditional Super AMOLED screen as well as easier to view in direct sunlight. Hands-on reports from across the web note that the Super AMOLED Plus display is remarkable and hands down better then the regular Super AMOLED display. The colors are crisp, the blacks are deep and the screen is just all around nice to look at.

Samsung loaded the Infuse 4G with Android 2.2 and made its TouchWiz UI a little less intrusive when you first start to play around with your device. The Infuse 4G comes with a single-core 1.2GHz processor but that doesn't really matter unless you just absolutely love benchmarking things. Apps load up quickly and the touchscreen is responsive and precise.

You can swipe through seven home pages as well as three pages of applications right out of the box, until you customize it of course. This is also AT&T's first device that promises max speeds of 21 Mbps, which is quite a statement. In addition to that, the Infuse 4G, unlike other phones like the Inspire 4G, Captivate or Aria, allows app sideloading and also features the "Unknown Sources" menu item in the settings.

The good news is that this phone will be available May 15th through AT&T or Samsung for $200.

Source: Engadget - Samsung Infuse 4G hands-on (updated)

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