Amazon’s long-rumored Apple TV competitor to launch next month?

Image: digitaltrends.com

Image: digitaltrends.com

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code - ahead of the new version of the Apple TV box expected to be unveiled in April.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout [...]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  Read more

Amazon hits the iPad Air with a new commercial mocking Jony Ive

From 9to5Google:

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Amazon has never shied away from quietly mocking Apple’s iPad and that’s why this new Kindle Fire HDX commercial (via Amazon YouTube) and its distinctly British voice has us laughing. Calling it the “magical new iPad Air” in proper British tongue, the commercial is offset with the American accented intro of the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX.

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DisplayMate tablet shootout puts Retina iPad Mini in last place, with ‘out-dated technology’

displaymate

DisplayMate, a company specializing in scientific display testing and calibration, gave the Retina iPad Mini third place in detailed lab tests of three leading 7-inch tablets, criticising Apple for “really bad planning” for what it considers to be out-dated display technology.

And finally… the iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 [...]

All of this reliance on IGZO is really bad planning… Right now there is a readily available display technology that has much higher performance than IGZO. It’s Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS, and it is used in all of the iPhones and in all of Samsung OLEDs (so it’s available in large quantities). Two innovative tablet manufacturers, Amazon and Google, have significantly leapfrogged Apple by introducing Tablet displays using LTPS (in the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the new Nexus 7), and they are significantly outperforming the IGZO and a-Si displays in the current iPads. Apple is now lagging in displays, an area where it was once the leader…  Read more

Amazon working to move further into hardware space with 3D smartphone, audio device

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcing new Kindle

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is working to expand its hardware offerings, this year, beyond the Kindle e-readers and tablets (like the Kindle Fire). According to the new report, Amazon is working on two smartphones, including a high-end model with a 3D display. Like other smartphones currently on the market, this display could be interacted with via a user’s eyes:

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Gmail 2.0, Kindle X-Ray for books, Foursquare, Netbot, Uber, Jingu Friends, more

Gmail iOS 2.0

Gmail version 2.0: Google has just released a major update to its Gmail iOS app, introducing multiple account support, a new look that appears to be partly inspired by its Sparrow acquisition, search predictions and much more. The update also brings interactive Google+ posts support, an infinite scroll inbox, new welcome screen, and  the ability to respond to Google Calendar invites. Google walked through some of the new features of the overhauled Gmail app in a blog post noting the app was six months in the works:

Six months ago, our team set out to completely rebuild the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad to give you you a faster, sleeker, and easier experience on iOS. The result? Version 2.0. With version 2.0 of the app, you’ll get a totally new look and feel, plus a bunch of improvements like profile pictures in messages, numerous new animations from swivels to transitions and infinite scrolling in the message lists.

Kindle version 3.5: Amazon previously rolled out its X-Ray feature, which used to be exclusive to Kindle devices, to iOS devices back in October. At the time, it was only making the feature available for textbooks on iOS. Today, Amazon has updated the Kindle iOS app to extend the X-Ray to all books. The update also includes “Manga Image Rendering Improvements”:

• X-Ray for Books – see the “bones of the book”. X-ray helps you learn more about notable characters, places, and phrases with descriptions from Shelfari.com and Wikipedia.
• Manga Image Rendering Improvements

Uber version 2.1.0: iPhone 5 support and localizations:

-Uber app now supports iPhone 5. Also in this release are Dutch localization, and an enhanced look for top riders.

Netbot for App.net (iPhone): Tapbots updated its Netbot client for App.net today with some new features and improvements. The iPad edition is available here.

- Added support for Stream Marker
– Added Unified Stream option
– Added support for img.ly as an image service
– Performance improvements for older devices
– Better support for image annotations

Foursquare version 5.3.5:  Read more

Phil Schiller clarifies iPad mini has stereo speakers following Amazon’s Kindle comparison

When Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller unveiled the iPad mini on stage earlier this month, he didn’t discuss the speaker on the new device. There were rumors that the iPad mini might include stereo speakers, but tech specs on Apple’s website only list a “built-in speaker” for iPads. Adding to the rumors that iPad mini might actually have a mono speaker, Amazon posted a comparison of the new iPad and its Kindle Fire HD tablet, listing dual stereo speakers vs a mono speaker as one of the the Kindle’s advantages. A curious 9to5 reader wanted to find out what speaker Apple is actually including in the device and was able to get an email response direct from Phil Schiller.

Hi Mr. Schiller, 

I understand the tech specs about iPad Mini online should cover everything, but the tech specs online neither confirm or deny the rumors of iPad Mini’s speakers being stereo. Is it possible to get confirmation from the man himself as to whether these are mono or stereo?

Schiller responded: Read more