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

Hands-on with whistle-locating, solar-powered KudoCase and KudoMate for iPad

Anyone who has ever misplaced an iPad and felt a sudden urge of panic —or better yet, anyone who has ever watched an iPad’s battery drain without access to power while on a long trip— can now rejoice, as there is a solution to both problems in one, nifty case.

Wireless NRG developed a renewable charging resource for the iPad by simply converting the sun’s rays, indoor lights, and practically any other luminescent substance into a perpetual stream of free energy. The high-end, portable charging case, dubbed “KudoCase,” launched earlier this summer for $199.95 with a slew of innovative accessories. But that’s not all…it responds to whistling. If your iPad is ever lost at a friend’s house, just whistle. The KudoCase will set off an alarm. Yeah, I know—awesome.

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber—check out the hands-on review below.

KudoCase Video Overview

(The 1080p version is processing; coming soon.)

 

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iPad mini will look like a large iPod touch with smaller side bezels [Gallery]

We received a number of tips over the last few weeks from sources that we have reason to believe hold knowledge about Apple’s plans on the upcoming iPad mini. A recurring theme of late is that the iPad mini will “look like a big iPod touch” with smaller bezels along the sides in portrait mode and separate volume buttons and not a “rocker” and a mic on the back.

In addition, we received a number of different iPad mini back plates with the best quality being these from case maker Devicewear.

We were not confident enough to post the above information alone (but did make the atop mockup), but the very reliable John Gruber chimes in today with many of the same bits of information.

Here is a gallery of all the iPad mini images and mockups we have obtained to date: Read more

Amazon Instant Video app for iPad hits the App Store with offline viewing and Prime streaming

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Just 24 hours after Hulu started popping up on Apple TV, we now see Amazon’s Instant Video Store in the App Store for iPad. It looks like a full app capable of not only streaming Prime content for free (with the$79 a yearl Amazon Prime membership, but the first month is free) as well as being able to download content for offline viewing. Also, Season Pass is available for TV shows, and episodes are available the morning after the show airs on TV. The app will also resume where you left off watching from Kindle Fire, PS3, PC, Mac, or hundreds of models of connected TVs and Blu-ray players with Amazon Whispersync.

Interestingly, no iPhone version yet.

I can confirm that Airplay only works for audio in streaming video so you can’t stream to an AppleTV, yet. Also, I am able to stream my purchased movies but offline downloading doesn’t appear to be working at the moment (update: 8 hours later, 1 movie has finished downloading).

Amazon’s Cloud Drive got updated just yesterday as well, but with the proximity to the Hulu announcement, we’re thinking this might be Apple’s move more than Amazon finally building the app. On the other hand, perhaps the $199 Google Nexus 7 is signaling a big shift – that Amazon doesn’t need to build its own hardware and it can just produce software for the variety of tablets out there.

Full App Description below: Read more

On iPad ‘Mini/7′ colors, TV remote, pocket-ability, price and kids

Since the first credible rumors of a 7.85-inch iPad started surfacing last October, we have been trying to wrap our heads around what is coming. Beyond what is already reported, our sources haven’t had much to say…yet.

But that gives us some time for some broad Mini iPad speculation:

A 7.85-inch iPad with a 3:4 screen ratio is not the same thing as a 7-inch 16:10 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. For better or worse, it is much bigger. Take these drawings from @trojankitten that were popular a few weeks ago:

Better, of course, being more screen real estate. While that will not help much for video content, which is generally in the 16:9 format, web pages will look better, Maps will be bigger, and, perhaps most importantly, books will be easier to read. Worse is that it is going to be much harder to fit in your pocket. In fact, as tight as the Nexus 7 is in those skinny jeans and purses, I am going to go ahead and say this form factory will be close to impossible to fit in pants pockets. So, forget that.

So, what is this thing good for?

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IDC: iPad’s all-purpose functionality allows it to trump content consumption Android devices

The iPad is more than just a content-yielding eReader, and consumers are finally making the distinction.

Analytics firm IDC released new data today illustrating Apple’s global tablet market share having increased dramatically from 2011’s holiday quarter. The firm accredited the iPad’s success to its all-purpose functionality that outshines Android devices’ content.

The iPad rose to 68 percent in Q1 2012 from 54.7-percent in Q4 2011. Apple’s 13.3-percent gain is attributed to the Kindle Fire’s staggering 12.8-percent drop to 4 percent in Q1 2012.

IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Research Director Tom Mainelli explained the market share differences:

“Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season. [...] Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well.”

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9to5Toys: Amazon cuts Kindle Fire to $139 (refurb), Airport Extreme for $99, lots more

Some good deals from 9to5Toys.com today:

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If you like Kindle, no better time to jump on the refurb Kindle Fire for $139 + free shipping.  Like new with 1 year warranty.

MacConnection has the Airport Extreme Base Station ($30 off) for $149.  Best Buy has refurb for $99

Used iPhone 4 (no contract): $235 at Cowboom

Transcend 8GB Class 4 SDHC Memory Card for $5 + free shipping

iTunes library fixer upper Tuneup bundle is $30

Logitech Wireless Keyboard: $15 at Best Buy

Lots more at 9to5toys.com (Facebook) (Twitter)(RSS)(Subscribe via eMail)

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