Google releases the Chromebook Pixel, designed for high-performance cloud computing

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When manufacturing cheap personal computers, designers have to make trade-offs between processing power, memory and other computer components in order to strike an economical but workable balance. The balance, clearly, is a delicate one and any solution that eliminates the need for one of these components is highly welcome.

Google Chromebooks are such solutions that do away with the need for huge hard disk spaces by storing whatever you do on the cloud. The latest Chromebook, the Chromebook Pixel, is an amalgamation of the best hardware, software and design to come up with the next generation gadget suited for power users who have already fully adopted the cloud.

The Visual Display unit has the highest pixel density than any other laptop screen on the market. Packing 4.3 million pixels (239 ppi), the display delivers sharp text and vivid colors over an extra wide view angle. In addition to this, the screen comes with touch support to sate the need to touch the close-to-real HD images it displays. Organizing tabs and photos and other edits happens swiftly and easily with the swipe of a finger.

To support the grueling demand from long hours of use, the Pixel comes in an anodized aluminum alloy cover giving it a sleek and durable surface. To keep the outward appearance of the design, vents and screws remain hidden while the full-range stereo speakers fit snugly under the backlit keyboard.

To increase precision, a glass etched touchpad, finished using laser technology, is all you need to move the cursor about on the Chromebook in case you do not want to use the touch screen. With its 720p webcam and three strategically placed microphones designed to eliminate noise, you can now comfortably do your video conferencing in noisy environments.

Powered by Intel Core-i5 processor, anything you decide to do, from loading Web pages to changing apps is almost instant which is exactly what users with no time to spare expect from their devices. With its top-notch Wi-Fi range and dual-band support with optional Long-term Evolution (LTE), you can be sure that accessing your cloud-stored data just got easier and more fun.

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The Chromebook Pixel comes with one terabyte of Google Drive Cloud storage and 12 free GoGo Inflight Internet passes allowing you to store as much as you can and access it while on the go without having to pay more, at least for a start.

With all the favorite Google products just a click away, the Chromebook is definitely a workable solution for those who are already in the cloud computing bandwagon. Thanks to Chrome OS, you will no longer need to wait for the computer to boot up. In addition, you will need no maintenance. To sum up the whole package is a built-in virus protection that self-updates once every few weeks.

The Chromebook Pixel is available for purchase on Google Play in the US and UK. The Wi-Fi version retails at $1,299 with the LTE version retailing at $1,449 which will be available in the US come this April. High-end users who need a device that incorporates tablet functionality and cloud computing services now have something to smile about with the Chromebook Pixel.

The long wait for the PlayStation 4 is almost over

On Stage

Since the release of PlayStation 3 on November 11, 2006 in Japan, Sony game console lovers have had nothing to look forward to apart from the release of new games and hardware/design upgrades, which I must admit, though functional, were never enough to quench the thirst for something totally new and different. After the long wait, Sony has finally announced the successor, the PlayStation 4.

Impressive new hardware and features

The PlayStation 4 uses a single chip custom AMD processor with eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores and an AMD Radeon-based graphics engine. The Graphic Processing Unit comes with 18 processing clusters with each having 64 cores, which will do all the heavy work in the PS4 due to its immense parallel processing power. This, coupled with its 8GB of GDDR5 memory, assures us of fast game loads and smooth playing experiences.

In bid to match Microsoft’s Kinect controller, Sony presents the PlayStation 4 Eye, an innovative set of two highly sensitive cameras with wide angled lenses and an 85-degree diagonal angle of view. Sony claims that these cameras, whose resolution total up to 1280 x 800 pixels can pick out the player image from the background and differentiate between players in the foreground and background hence improving on game play.

The PS4 controller, the Dual Shock 4 pad, comes in a classy design with better vibrations and enhanced motion sensors. PS4 PadApart from these improvements, there is a touchpad on the front, a change in the button layout, the addition of a “Share” button, integration of the “SELECT” and “START” button into a single “OPTIONS” button  and the addition of some PlayStation Move technology in a bid to improve on gamer experiences and fully exploit the console’s improved processing power.

Though the PS4 will be capable of 4K/Ultra HD video playback, Sony revealed that it would not support 4K game-play resolutions. Other incompatibility issues coming with the PS4 include the lack of support for Dual Shock 3 and its inability to give native support for PS3 games , a problem that Sony at some point plans to bridge by offering server side emulation for virtually all PS generation games through the Sony Entertainment Network.

Other impressive things the PS4 can do, with the majority being fruits of Sony’s purchase of Gaikai, include playing online games as they download, uploading and sharing game-play video (the share button on the Dual Shock 4 comes in handy for this) among many other cloud-based functionalities.

If Sony stands true to its promises, the days of waiting for almost a minute before your console boots up will be nothing but history. The console will have an instant on/off feature that lets you shut down during a game and pick up from where you left in future after an extremely fast boot up.

Though we did not see the actual hardware during the PlayStation 4 presentation, I am confident that come the holiday season, Sony will once again sweep us off our feet with a console that competes favorably with other brands of gaming consoles and PCs.

Google Nexus 7 tablet: The specs drill-down

Not long ago, Apple took the full impact of the tech limelight by releasing the iPhone 5 and their next generation iPads. Its competitors, with one such example being Google, had earlier announced a branded 7-inch tablet, the Google Nexus 7.

In the making of the $200 tablet, Google knew that they had to beat the redefined hardware specification set by the iPad and the Amazon-made Kindle Fire. Other than worrying about specifications, they also had to redeem the tarnished reputation of Android OS as a tablet operating system.

To offset the hardware struggle, Asus adopts the normal glossy and black-beveled display characteristic to most tablets. To make it stand out, the designers ringed the display with a matte rigid silver band and covered the back with some soft-touch material with that comfortable feel of taut leather.

Measuring 7.8 inches tall by 4.7 inches wide, the Google Nexus 7 tablet weighs 0.74 pounds making it 0.16 pounds lighter than the kindle Fire. Additionally, the tablet is 0.41 inches thick making it thicker than the trending iPad by a mere 0.04 inch.

Past the bezel on the front that eats up some screen size while giving you some place to grip and the adhering smudge resistant back, is a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU with processing speeds of up to 1.15GHz on all cores and 1.3GHz when running a single core. The Tegra 3 CPU works with 1GB of RAM and normal user storage capacity being 8GB with an option of paying $50 for a 16GB version. In this case, the company’s pre-installed internal storage strictly dictates the amount of data you can keep on the Nexus 7 since it has no microSD slot. To compensate for this, the tablet features Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, a GPS chip, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer and the much-coveted NFC capability.

The tightly sealed tablet (the tablet’s back panel is not removable at all) features a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera that comes in handy when holding Google+ Hangouts, a rear speaker and built-in microphones.

Performance is improved by the Android 4.1 operating system and “Project Butter” that works to improve touch response and the smooth floor of Android apps. Though high speed scrolling still brings the Galaxy Nexus snap-back effect, apps load fast enough and the Tegra Chipset does a good job in rendering 3D games.

The Google Nexus 7 display power does not in any way let down its internal hardware capabilities. It features a 1280×800 corning glass-covered LCD display with an impressive 216ppi count. Though colors look a bit off compared to Galaxy Nexus Super AMOLED display, text and images are crisp and clear enough making the gadget completely favorably with the new iPad.

Battery life is within the ranges expected for such a performer. With brightness tied to 65 percent while loading web pages, the battery stays for roughly six hours though heavy use of the monster CPU will drastically reduce this.

Samsung and Google create the ultimate mobile companion for cloud enthusiasts

In the world of technology, we invent and or create some things, and that becomes the end of the story. We sometimes invent and create, but some consumers just do not like the results. There is a breed of innovations, however, that sell out even before they are actually unveiled to the public. Since their introduction into the market, the ChromeBooks have taken to the side as a not widely accepted innovation but in the eyes of many, the new Samsung Chromebook 2012 is the ultimate game changer.

Unlike its Intel Celeron powered predecessors, the dual-core ARM driven Chromebook comes with an 11.6-inch display and 6.5-hour battery life compressed in an impressively compact design, all at only $249.

By trashing Intel Celeron processors in favor of the ARM, Samsung designers packed the new Chromebook with higher power while reducing production cost, power consumption and heat dissipation. Actually, the Chromebook goes to record as the first ever retail device to use the Cortex-A15 technology.

This silver-colored 2.4 pound ChromeBook has a better touchpad with the ability to interpret two-finger scrolling input using the accompanying buttons that are somewhat loud when clicked. Though good for the design, the fact that they decided to put all the ports at the back of the ChromeBook, apart from the headphone jack, can be a real pain for users who are constantly plugging things into their computer.

Since the ChromeBook is specifically built for online use through the Google Chrome browser, its matte display makes sense since the essence of a mobile device is to cancel out the possibility of squinting past your reflection to read what is on the screen. However, the reduced brightness of 200 units compared to the predecessor’s 300, means that you will have to get the right angle before settling back to use the Chromebook.

Generally, by opting for the new Chromebook, you pay $201 less and get a lighter and thinner laptop, which is actually more portable. However, you will have to kiss ethernet and the now optional 3G radio goodbye in favor of the in-built Bluetooth.

The new Chromebook is a great deal for people who live on the cloud. It has a practical keyboard and its browsing experience is awesome. What else would you possibly need to navigate the cloud?

Google’s amazing Nexus 4 hardware specs with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Circumstances might have pushed Google to cancel its scheduled Android event in New York City but the tech giant’s spirit remained ablaze with the announcement of its new array of the Nexus devices. The company has added three more devices to the Nexus series, namely Nexus 4, a 3G-enabled Nexus 7 and a Nexus 10.

After an avalanche of leaks that hinted on the Nexus 4’s exact specs before its official release, the 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus Display (1,280×768) finally took the world by storm.

The Nexus 4 features an 8 megapixel primary camera, a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera , Gorilla Glass 2 and the latest rendition of Google Now, including other ‘obvious’ features like turn-by-turn navigation through Google Maps, 3D Maps, Street View and Indoor Maps.

To match the gloss and finesse of the etched, layered glass that sparkles to a near holographic depth is the 320ppi IPS+ LCD screen. This improvement from the clarity of Galaxy Nexus’ display will definitely give Apple some competition on the iPhone’s 326ppi Retina Display.

Powering this compact high-end gadget is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that works hand in hand with 2GB of RAM to deliver that snappy operation that all smartphone designers strive to attain. The Snapdragon feeds on a sizeable 2100mAh battery, which the company claims can deliver up to ten hours of talk time.

The new hardware specs of the phone get back up from a new operating system. Scheduled to share the launching platform with the Nexus 4 is the Android 4.2 OS (and Nexus 10 tablet). Android 4.2 Jelly Bean comes loaded with eye-catching upgrades like added screen lock widget functionality, allowing you to steal a glance at information without really waking up the phone.

Typing on the virtual keyboard is bound to be fun since the new OS supports a typing mode dubbed “Gesture Typing”. This style mimics Swype, only to better it with some bit of standard typing.

When the time is ripe, customers will have to part with $299 for the 8GB variant or $349 for 16GB of storage, with a T-Mobile version selling unlocked for $199 on a two-year contract.

Anyone out for class and quality will have no problem trading such cash for a faster CPU, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, NFC, Bluetooth and integrated compatibility with Google’s latest innovation, the Wireless Charging Orb.

Seattle shoppers preview Edibly, Bing’s latest mobile shopping app

Microsoft’s Bing has launched ‘Edibly’ for iPhone which will be available in the App Store despite the probable protests from Windows Phone users who feel that the app is exclusively for their platform. The application allows users to browse the Pike Place Market from the portable comfort of their handheld gadgets.

Backing up the move, Microsoft opines that the main aim of the release is to ease shopping stress and help consumers discover new products. The company calls the current release of Edibly a “pilot program on trial” since it currently can only run at a single location in a single city. There are plans for improvement if the pilot programs yields encouraging results.

It is hard to comprehend why a search engine would venture into such an investment. Managing and running this new app will allow Bing to deliver detailed information to consumers hence bettering its portfolio. The fact that the partnership brings more data to Bing is more likely their main goal.

Edibly gives information on what is new in the market and guides you through the entire process of shopping by navigating you through a digital map of whatever shopping site you visit. Apart from giving information about target market goods, the app moves a step further and enables the users to take a tangible action on the good discovered. For instance, entering a query about dinner resorts and reservations will be possible since ‘Edibly’ will morph to state the demand.

Edibly is in trial at Seattle U.S with its developers proposing the following benefits:

  • More shopping confidence courtesy of the market
  • A view page that allows product comparisons thus helping in choosing the best item
  • Save time by navigating through products in the market via a map functionality
  • Discover new products in the market.

Bing’s move to develop ‘Edibly’ shows the search engine’s interest in offering support to local markets by taking them online, where everybody is going. This contrasts against Google’s latest shopping venture that aims at turning the existent US product listings into ad spots. Edibly is currently still on its trial steps with promises of improvement and expansion which will, in due course, be revealed to the public.

The iPad mini to battle it out with full tablets like iPad 2 and the Android-powered Nexus 7

Finally, the iPad mini is here. As its name suggests, it is slightly smaller than the regular iPad though its 7.9 inches still compares favorably with something like the Nexus 7. Its ultra slim design easily makes up for the big surface area that gives it a lean profile, and a surprisingly hefty feel on the hands which puts it at a better place against its rivals.

Apple did a fine job with the iPad mini as was the case with the iPhone 5, further widening the gap between Apple and its competitors. The $329 gadget boasts of a sharp display which is OK compared to its predecessor and successors, the 3rd and 4th generation full size iPads.

The device is powered by an A5 CPU, which raises concern since the chip is actually two generations old. However, there should be no worries at all since current iPad software, iOS 6, runs smoothly on the device. This might be because the device has a fewer number of pixels to manipulate on its 1024 by 768, 7.9-inch display.

Comparing the iPad mini to the full-sized iPad 2 shows no real big difference in performance. Applications run just as snappily as they do on the full-sized counterpart. It’s screen resolution is the same as that of the flagship iPad 2 and sports a resolution standing at a quarter that of the iPad 2.

When compared to other Android tablets, specifically the Nexus 7 which carries the future of the Android tablets, the first aspect to pinpoint is the fact that the Nexus is an economical tablet making it cheaper than the iPad mini. In reality though, the iPad mini has more screen space real estate than the Nexus which is also able to deliver more crisp images, thanks to its 216ppi screen in comparison to the mini’s 162ppi. Apple has also maintained the 10-hour battery life on the new mini.

Though the detailed specification list of the iPad mini is not yet out, we would be right to conclude that the gadget derives its strength from the way it pairs up its hardware and undoubtedly matches the power of the second-generation iPad. When compared to the Android flagship tablet, the iPad mini does not fair badly and may be a real competitor to the Nexus 7.

At a glance: What the iOS 6 update brings into the Apple world

“A new iOS for the new iPhone” That sounds logical, but inadequate. It will do no harm to delve deeper and know what this new marvel has in store for us. Like any other innovative innovation, iOS 6 comes with custom-made functionality that will not take long before becoming an integral part of us, one that we will eventually find difficult to live without.

High expectations might however be dashed by the first glance at the interface of this new OS. It looks similar to its predecessor, iOS 5, and there is where the similarities end. The new OS has a few changes splattered all over, with the most visible being on the ability of the status bar to change its color shade to match that of the currently running app and a slightly brightened keypad.

Rigid individuals should however find solace in the fact that with so much change, some things remain the same. For instance, though the phone app has a new dialer, the favorites remain the same and simple, with a vertical list of names without their associated images.

When it comes to speed, the OS does not actually feel any different from its predecessors. Apart from browser improvements, the whole innovation actually makes the entire device a lot slower. Though this might seem to be a setback, it actually is a worthy trade off. The reduced operation speed is what will deliver extra battery life, hence more connectivity time.

Where the iOS 6 seems to beat iOS 5 is on the Universal Search feature nested one swipe away from the home screen. For seasoned users, you will notice that the delay between app opening and actual running is not as much as it used to be making the entire experience better and worthy a second chance.

New and improved apps in the OS include Maps, Siri,  a photo streaming feature, passbook, Facebook and Twitter integration, an updated App store and iTunes store and an improved and invigorating Safari browser.

My favorite app is Siri.  Though the app debuted in the iPhone 4, with improvements in the fifth iteration, the most adorable feature is the ability to launch third-party applications through Siri. A command like “launch twitter” will bring a confirmation prompt. This is one of the most challenging areas for voice-controlled apps. However, Siri will always be able to launch the desired app in a second trial.

How to use Google to discover new products from Google

Google’s mission has always been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. What better way to do that than by starting within their own company!

You may be wondering how you can possibly keep up with the countless new products, enhancements and releases that Google is always working on. Google makes it real easy by simply going to their official About Google page.

From the ‘About Us’ page, users can navigate and keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Google blog directory, search for a job at Google, financial information and corporate governance among countless other topics.  Google initiatives are ever-growing and this page is most likely the best starting point to follow such initiatives as Google Ventures, Google Green among others. Google also ensures that people who are new to Google (if there are any nowadays) learn first-hand about the company, its philosophies, what they believe and what they do. Google even makes available a short history of its beginnings, and an in depth look is also freely available.

For hardcore daily Google users, the ‘About Us’ page has a lot to offer as well. The page includes links to all of Google news outlets that includes its blog directory, images, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube directories.  Opening the Facebook  Directory link for example, shows a list of all the official Google Facebook Pages that include Chrome Experiments, Google Analytics, Google Fiber, Google Maps among others. You will be amazed by how many Facebook pages Google maintains by clicking on this link alone. The same case with the Twitter, YouTube and Google+ links.

All of Google press releases have also been made available under the ‘Investor Relations‘ link. From here, you can follow financial information, events, conferences, webcasts and meeting information that date as far back as 2004.

My favorite part is of course, the ‘Doodles’ page, a museum of Google logos commemorating people, holidays and events. The page lists all the past Google doodles, by both year and country, dating as far back as 1998. I just don’t seem to get enough of these doodles.
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Apple Releases a New iPod Touch in the Wake of iPhone 5’s Hit Release

It has been one week since Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5. As if the mere release of the fifth generation iPhone was not enough, the giant gadgets designer also dropped a newly revamped version of the Apple iPod Touch. The iPod Touch can be defined as an iPhone without the phone, meaning that the device delivers the other functionalities of an iPhone apart from the calling functionality.

Bigger screen, thinner device

This new iPod Touch still perpetuates Apple’s trend of releasing gadget updates that are slimmer, more power efficient and smarter than their predecessors. The gadget features a 4-inch retina display with an aspect ratio of 16:9 to enhance on video and gaming experiences which are the core functionalities of an iPad.

Weighing in at 88 grams (from the former 101 grams) with a super-thin depth of 6.1mm, the device is now powered by a dual core A5 processor, an improvement from the former A4 which is aimed at improving general processing capabilities to better on the execution of heavy-weight applications.

To cover the iPod, Apple designers have dumped the tapered chrome backing for a flat aluminum panel, a move that rhymes with the casing change of the iPhone 5 and is believed to add to the versatility of the gadget. The sleek cover is punctured at the front top part to host a secondary camera that can support 720p video and facial recognition with its pixel power left classified during the release.

At the rear of this new gadget that now features an internal speaker detaching you from the constant need for earphones and 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio making it compatible with Apple’s AirPlay Mirroring feature, is a new 5-megapixel camera complete with LED flash that supports 1080p video capture and other iSight capabilities.

Released in a variety of colors that include blue, silver and black that are bound to create an illusion of diversity fromone gadget to another, the new iPod Touch will come with new earbuds dubbed “EarPods” to enhance the audio quality delivered to the user.

An impressive cut down on power consumption will definitely reduce the need to get plugged in and juice up the iPod. Statistics released put music playback time to a record 40 hours.

Pricing

It is speculated that the iPod will be selling at a retail price of $299 for the 32GB model and $100 more for an additional 32GB of storage to lay hands on the 64GB model.