Review: T-Mobile’s $25 Personal CellSpot is a no-brainer for Magenta customers and handover Wifi calling may even win some converts

In all of the hoopla over the new iPhone 6/Plus, T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK got themselves a pretty big exclusive (for now). T-Mobile has been offering Wifi calling for years but it’s recently come to the iPhone – and with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, gets even better with cell/wifi handover. (T-Mobile partnered with Gogo to enable texting and voicemails on participating airline journeys as well).

Wifi calling, for some, may be the type of feature that makes or breaks a carrier relationship. With it, you can make calls anywhere there is a wifi signal. That means basements, country homes and even foreign countries are all now open to making and receiving calls from your carrier phone number… Read more

Asus reportedly sold more tablets than Apple in Japan during first half of 2014

Image via TechSmartt

Image via TechSmartt

According to figures released by market research company BCN, Asus sold more tablets than Apple during the first half of 2014 in Japan. Asus’ market share rose 8 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2014, the report claims, giving it a 38.9 percent portion of the tablet market in Japan. Apple, on the other hand, holds a 36.4 percent share (via Nikkei). This is the first time Asus has ever held the top spot in Japan, according to the report. Read more

Review: Samsung’s U28D590D 28-inch 4k monitor finally brings quality 4k at an affordable price

Ever since the Mac Pro was released in December, we’ve faced an onslaught of 4k displays. We reviewed Seiki’s budget offering last year, and while we liked it overall, it did have more than its fair share of set backs. For instance, you could only use the full 4k resolution at 30Hz, which meant that there would be noticeable lag when using the display as a monitor. Despite the low refresh rate, the display was still a great deal at its then $450 price point (now down to $390) and truly got us excited for the potential of 4k. At CES this year, we also saw a variety of 4k displays, some of which were priced for budget-minded customers, and some of which were high-end. Noticeably missing from CES, however, was Apple’s frenemy supplier/competitor Samsung.

Samsung, at the end of May, unveiled its take on an affordable 4k display. Samsung’s U28D590D is a 28-inch 4k monitor that supports full 4k resolution at 60Hz via a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. There are also two HDMI ports, but they’ll only do 4k at 30Hz, like the Seiki. The big selling point of the Samsung monitor, aside from doing 4k at 60Hz, is that it costs just $646 on Amazon. This puts it far below any currently available 4k monitor with 60Hz capabilities. I purchased the Samsung U28D590D on Amazon while it was priced at $666 and have been using it as my primary display for the past week. How does it compare to the Seiki? Is 4k all it’s hyped up to be? Let’s discuss.

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Despite falling market share, iPads outsold next 4+ tablet makers combined in 2013

ipad

Figures released today by Gartner show that the iPad remained the best-selling tablet of 2013, selling more than the combined sales of the four runners-up.

Apple’s strong fourth quarter helped it to maintain the top position in the market in 2013 [...]

Apple’s tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share …  Read more

Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

mini

When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

windows

A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more

CES 2014: New era of inexpensive 4K monitors from Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Seiki ushered in

With the new Mac Pro capable of powering three 4k displays, new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt 2 and 4K HDMI 1.4 in many hands and Apple taking its sweet time to release its own monitor, an affordable 4k display is something many people are searching out right now. ASUS, at the Consumer Electronics Show, has just unveiled a new 28-inch 4k monitor that will retail for just $799. Currently, ASUS’ 31.5-inch 4k offering comes in at over $3,000, and while the price difference between the two is major, there doesn’t appear to be a gap in features (via Engadget).

ASUS’s 28-inch 4k monitor will pack a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, just like its larger sibling. As far as ports go, we’re looking at one DisplayPort and one MHL-capable HDMI port. The monitor has a fully rotatable design, as well as a quick 1ms response time.

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Apple reportedly purchases PrimeSense, the Israeli 3D body sensor firm behind Microsoft Kinect for $345M

According to Israeli publication Calcalist.co.il, Apple has purchased PrimeSense, the company behind the original Microsoft Kinect’s technology somewhere near a valuation in the $345M range. According to the report, a delegation of PrimeSense senior executives visited Apple’s engineering offices in recent days. The purchase would bolster Apple’s living room TV interface offerings and allow Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its products.

Calcalist reported in July that Apple was mulling a purchase for somewhere in the neighborhood of $280M.  PrimeSense had issued a denial that it was in talks to be bought by Apple. As we know with past history surrounding these type of matters, company denials don’t often mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Apple purchased Israeli Flash chip optimization company Anobit in late 2011 for $400M+, also originally reported by Calcalist. The company now functions as one of Apple’s R&D centers in-country… Read more

Apple drops to 32% tablet market share in Q2 amidst strong YoY Android growth

IDC-tablet-market-Q2-2013

IDC is out today with its latest report tracking worldwide tablet shipments, reporting that total shipments have experienced a sequential decline during Q2 at the expense of Apple and the iPad. Apple already announced that it had sold 14.6 million iPads during the quarter, a significant drop from the 17 million it sold in the year ago quarter, but today IDC gives us some insight into where that puts Apple in its lead over Samsung as the top tablet vendor.

Apple was able to pick up 32.4% of the market during Q2, continuing its lead as the top tablet manufacturer, but dropping from the 60.3% of the market it had in Q2 last year. While Apple’s tablet shipments are clearly suffering from lack of new product announcements this year, it’s also losing share to Samsung and others. IDC reports 277% year over year growth for Samsung, giving it 18% of the market with 8.1 million units shipped during Q2. All of the top 3 vendors– Apple, Samsung, and ASUS– experienced a drop compared to Q1 2013, but the Android tablet makers have experienced significant growth compared to Apple since last year. Read more

The good news and bad news on that ASUS 31.5-inch 4k monitor for Mac users

asus

We told you a few days ago about ASUS launching a 31.5-inch 4k monitor, and predicted that today’s Macs would struggle to drive it. The Verge has now confirmed this, by briefly hooking it up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Tangible lag was introduced when working in more demanding applications like Adobe’s Lightroom, while the mouse cursor also exhibited a troublingly low refresh rate …
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ASUS launching a 4k 31.5-inch monitor – but don’t expect to hook it up to your Mac just yet …

PQ321Q_Side_650

Update: Pricing has just been announced, at $3,799. Pricey, but actually not bad value in a market that had five-figure pricing not so long ago.

ASUS today revealed that it will launch a 31.5-inch 4k monitor late next month, its 3840×2160 pixels allowing four 1080p HD videos to display full-size on the same screen without overlap. A 4k monitor in such a small package is made possible by using an IGZO panel, whose smaller transistors enable greater pixel density, and is likely to be in the same league (and possibly from the same manufacturer) as the 32-inch Sharp panel we saw at CES.

However, don’t rush out to buy one just yet: it’s unlikely that even a top-spec Mac from today’s line-up would be able to drive the resolution at a decent frame-rate. But the next-generation of Haswell-powered Macs almost certainly will. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, it’s even possible that a next-generation MacBook Air could do so … Read more

IDC: iPad drops below Android with 40% share of worldwide tablet market, Apple still top vendor

Research firm IDC is out today with preliminary data from its quarterly study tracking worldwide tablet market share putting Apple at 40% market share compared to Android’s 56.5% of the market in Q1 2013. In the year ago quarter, Apple held 58.1% of the market surpassing Android’s 39.4%. IDC says Android shipments were increased thanks to strong growth of Samsung’s smaller sized tablets, while ASUS moved into the number 3 spot with 350.0% year over year growth due to strong demand for the Nexus 7:

ASUS managed to move into the number 3 vendor spot as it continued to see decent tablet shipment demand from the highly marketed Nexus 7 device. But, with Google’s I/O conference right around the corner and expectations of an imminent device refresh, the company will need to find a way to sustain its momentum. Amazon fell to the number 4 position, once again the victim of a highly seasonal product cycle.

Despite Apple taking number two behind Android for tablet shipments by operating system, it remains the top vendor by OEM taking a 39.6% share of the market vs Samsung’s 17.9% and 5.5% for ASUS. IDC notes that Apple actually exceeded expectations for Q1, where it typically experiences a drop off in shipments, by selling 19.5 million units compared to a forecast of 18.7 million: Read more

BlueStacks now lets you run every Android app on Mac as it moves to beta

bluestacks

In June, we told you about BlueStacks. It is a tool that allows Android apps to run on a Mac. The alpha only officially supported 17 Android apps, with Pulse and Words with Friends being the two of the more notable apps at launch, but the application has improved immensely. As Venture Beat first noted, BlueStacks has moved into beta this morning. It now allows users to run every Android app that the Google Play store has to offer. Some may be puzzled at the need to run a mobile application on the desktop, but it does come in use for apps like Instagram and Flipboard that have no desktop equivalent. BlueStacks reminds us a lot of Parallels or VM Ware, and it definitely becomes more useful with the added apps.

As of earlier this month, the Silicon Valley-based company passed 5 million installs on both Windows and Mac. BlueStacks also plans an even more impressive growth with partners AMD and ASUS, as TechCrunch noted, where the software would be pre-installed on over 100 million devices. Upcoming features include an App Discovery system in the Mac app to make it easier for users to find apps. Interested? You can download the beta from BlueStacks.

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