Microsoft Planning to Demo Windows 8 App Store This Week Supposedly

20 Apr

We’ve shown you a demo of Windows 8 in a recent review of the ASUS Eee Slate B121 and you might have noticed that there’s also a special app store included in the OS. Well, now Microsoft seems to have developed the store further, since it’s scheduled for a demo this week, according to sources.

The Windows 8 app store will include both free and paid apps, plus the trial versions we love so much, so we’ll know what we buy before we make the transaction. I must mention that the apps that will be included in the new application store will be intended for the Metro UI part of Win 8, not for the basic desktop experience. Traditional Windows desktop apps will also appear in the stores, but they will be links to the developers’ webpages no downloads straight from the store.

I’m still having a hard time adjusting to Metro UI and after so many years of desktop Windows, I think it will take a while for all of us to adjust to these tiles. Owning a Windows Phone device certainly aids the transition, but are we really ready to use tiles every day and everywhere?

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HTC Flyer Getting Honeycomb at Christmas Time

20 Apr

All of you HTC Flyer owners rejoice! There’s a nifty gift coming to you and it’s got Honeycomb written all over it… Yes, you’ve read it right: the HTC Flyer will be receiving Android 3.x through an upcoming upgrade, that will hit around Christmas time.

The device has already started receiving updates in some parts of the world, such as France. The new software takes the Flyer up to Android 3.2, after a long period of waiting and a really appealing price reduction of the slate that put it in the $200+ price range. The software version to look out for is 3.55.405.1 and the files measure 210MB, so it’s a big update, also one that comes OTA, so be careful with that data contract of yours.

For now, the HTC Flyer version with 32GB of memory, WiFi and 3G is getting the update, according to people familiar with the matter. No info when the 16GB WiFi Flyer will receive it and right now I’m looking forward for some info regarding people who aren’t in France and have received the update.

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NOVO7 Android 4.0 Tablet Costs a Mere $100… What More Can You Want?

20 Apr

Can you imagine an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet that costs a mere $100?! Some are still waiting for the first slate with this OS to be announced, but apparently one of the first 4.0 version slates is the NOVO7, a very affordable unit made in China. The product was made by Chinese company MIPS Technologies and it’s certainly a low end piece of work.

NOVO7 is promoted as “the first Ice Cream Sandwich tablet” and it’s certainly a landmark of how low prices can go for an ICS device. The tablet is a 7 incher with a 1 GHz processor, a 2 megapixel rear camera and a front facing camera with unknown resolution. Surprisingly enough, the display on the NOVO7 is capacitive, but the resolution is unknown, although 1024 x 600 or 840 x 400 are solid guesses.

The maker of the slate praises its low power usage, claiming that web browsing will draw a mere 400mA and that the device will offer a 30 hour standby time. No trace of real mAh evaluation and as far as the rest of the specs go, you get 4GB of on board storage, WiFi and a microSD card slot. Android Market is by no means present, although with a bit of hacking, even that can be activated.

Well, at least the tablet ships with a preinstalled Spiderman title… appealing right? The problem here is the shipping and handling cost, that will set you back $60. I guess it’s better to save for an Amazon Kindle Fire…

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ASUS Transformer Prime Coming to Canada on December 22nd

20 Apr

If you live in Canada and don’t own a tablet, prepare to get one this Christmas. I’m talking about the ASUS Transformer Prime, the quad core Tegra 3 slate that will come to Canada on the 22nd of this month. We’ve been hearing a lot about this tablet lately and you must know that it took in Taiwan last week and now it’s headed to the USA in the following days.

With a price of $499 and a battery life of 12 hours, or even 18 hours with that keyboard dock, this device might become the highest selling Android tablet till now. Transformer Prime is listed as sold out now at Best Buy, so don’t get your hopes up. However, I’m sure that as soon as more units arrive, you’ll be informed and able to place an order.

It’s strange that the launch is so close to Christmas, so you’ll have to dash and try to get a unit. Let me remind you that this beautiful slate is a mere 8.3mm in thickness, comes with a 10.1 inch display, quad core processor from Nvidia and an 8 megapixel camera, plus WiFi connectivity and 32GB of internal memory. Getting one?

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Windows 8 to Support Swipe Input on Tablets (Video)

20 Apr

Considering Nokia will launch a Windows 8 tablet next year, it was only a matter of time till the Finns starting getting their swipe on… Now, proof has appeared that Windows 8 actually relies on Swipe interaction for closing down apps and other features.

The proof is the very blurry video below, that shows a user swiping his way through Metro UI. We already know Swipe from the Nokia N9 experience, where this motion was crucial for interacting with menus, apps and everything on the device. Swipe was also popular on the BlackBerry PlayBook and the HP TouchPad, so why not include it on Windows 8 tablets as well?

As far as the swipe effects on Windows go, it appears that swiping from left to right switches to the next running task (just like ALT + TAB), while swiping halfway down from the top of the screen opens a multitasking area for switching apps. There’s also a method of swiping all the way down from the top of the screen to close running apps.

Is this the future of interaction, replacing the X in the corner of the screen?

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Amazon Kindle Fire Gets Plex App, Available for Download Now

20 Apr

If you’re an Amazon Kindle Fire owner, than know that there’s a fresh app for you, the Plex software. This is a media application was recently updated for other platforms and Android was not neglected, neither was the Amazon tablet. What it does is that it allows users to stream media from their home network.

Content streaming from friends’ libraries is also available, courtesy of the recently released Plex cloud service. This thing is actually getting some quick traction, as it has apps for iOS, Android and third party developers are working on bringing it to other hardware platforms, like Blu-ray players and set top boxes. The thing here is that Amazon has its own cloud thing going on, with associated services, so bringing an extra option to the scene might not please them.

Also, Amazon wants to sell content, not necessarily help you stream content you bought somewhere else on their devices. After all, the $200 tablet is selling at a loss and Amazon is more fond of the money it’s making with products and services sold on the slate, then the actual hardware. Will the Plex mean the downfall of the media experience on the Kindle Fire, or at least the media served by Amazon?

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Samsung Flexible, 3D, Transparent Tablet Display Concept is Breath Taking (Video)

20 Apr

Samsung has big plans for the future and while it may not follow Apple’s advice on not using a rectangular shape on tablets, the company surely has some tricks up its sleeve. One of them is using flexible panel technology for the next generation tablets and their displays. The result could look like the foldable, flexible slate below.

This concept shows us a 3D tablet, that’s transparent, bendable and able to translate simultaneously what someone is saying. The device’s display also shows holograms, apparently and the entire experience looks a bit sci-fi, but still slightly doable with current technologies. Samsung has shown during trade shows the flexible panels it has come up and neither they nor Sony have something viable yet to give to the mass market.

While transparent screens aren’t that amazing anymore, a panel that folds, bends and changes size is surely impressive, especially if it’s also 3D and transparent. Another problem here is the way to integrate a battery in such a device… how would they do it?! And also, how would they make the slate so thin and flexible? The solution here would be organic materials and solar charging, but once again we’ll have to let technology follow its course.

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