Google 'spring cleaning' targets mobile
Google on Friday detailed another round of sweeping consolidation that would drop even more of the servers it no longer considers vital. One Pass, its digital publication payment system, has been shuttered and its users transitioned to "other platforms." The implementation was intended to compete with Apple's own App Store publication rules and gave publishers as much as a 90 percent cut as well as access to subscriber details.
D-Link adds MovieNite media hub
D-Link threw itself into low-cost media hubs Tuesday with the MovieNite. Borrowing from the design cues of the Apple TV and Roku 2, the device at $60 is one of the least expensive capable of 1080p video. Its primary sources are Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube for video as well as Pandora for streaming music and Picasa for photos.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 coming to Brookstone in May
Parrot's AR.Drone 2.0 remote-controlled quadricopter introduced at CES is now available for pre-order at Brookstone. While the official ship date is in May, a limited number of units should arrive on April 9. Compared to its predecessor, the new AR.Drone has the ability to capture 720p videos and stills from its integrated camera.
Samsung starts CES run with DV300F camera
Starting what's likely to be a flurry of introductions related to CES, Samsung has brought out its next-generation of DualView cameras in the DV300F. The 16-megapixel camera has a new version of the signature 1.5-inch front display that's more flush with the body, reducing its effect when left off. Wi-Fi is new to the DualView series and can share photos and videos with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube without either a computer or an Eye-Fi card.
Google TV update adds key YouTube, photo extras
Google's recent Google TV revamp got its first significant OS update on Wednesday with the addition of some heavily requested extras. YouTube on the TV interface now catches up to Apple TV with support for both playlists and subscriptions. Common playlists like Favorites and Watch Later carry over at the same time.
Skifta Android app lets users stream to devices
Qualcomm Atheros just announced the release of the Skifta 1.0 Android app (free, Android Market) that will allow users to stream content from their Android devices or saved on the cloud to any DLNA-compatible device. It will offer a Channel library, that will let users access content from their Picasa, Photobucket, Soma.fm, Napster, ShoutCast, Revision 3 and TED Talks accounts or service, among others, without launching those apps separately.
Adobe working on could-based photo service?
Adobe's latest blog entry hints at the possibility that the outfit is about to launch an online photo storage service. It has asked its Facebook subscribers about how they manage and back up their photo collections as if to prove their point that they need a "simple, convenient... way for your photography to be everywhere you are." It then talks about a single place to which users can upload and access photos stored on their notebook, tablet or smartphone.
Canon outs MG5320, iP9420 photo printers
Canon has just released two new photo printers with the PIXMA MG5320 all-in-one and the PIXMA iP4920 inkjet. The former lets those who have images uploaded to either the Canon Image Gateway or Picasa Web Albums can print them wirelessly using the PIXMA Cloud Link once the printer is set up on the Wi-Fi network. It sports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) for quickly pairing with compatible devices.
Google acquires PittPatt for Android, more
Google wrapped up the week by acquiring PittPatt. The Pittsburgh-based company is being bought for facial recognition that it has used both for basic face detection as well as live face tracking during live photo and video capture. PittPatt gave clues that its technology would likely be used for as little as basic photo sorting to "complex video and mobile applications" in Android.
Product names to focus on Google brand
Google is reportedly planning to rebrand its Blogger and Picasa products as part of a broader strategy to reinforce Google Plus. The company is said to be renaming Blogger as "Google Blogs," while Picasa will allegedly become "Google Photos," unnamed sources have told Mashable. Most of Google's other properties, such as YouTube, will reportedly maintain existing branding.
Google says Plus app for iOS imminent
Google TV developer Erica Joy used Google+ to confirm that the social network's upcoming iOS app has been sent to Apple for approval. The app should be in the App Store soon and should be universal to accommodate the iPad alongside iPhone and iPod owners. iOS users currently have to depend on an optimized web app that doesn't allow some important Google+ features, such as Instant Upload photos or Huddle chat.
Google gets Photovine trademark and domain
Google may be planning to expand its photo sharing beyond just Picasa. The company obtained a trademark for "Photovine" on June 7 and used proxy firm MarkMonitor to acquire Photovine.com just a week later. Few clues exist as to what it would involve, although the trademark bills it as "transmission of visual images and data by telecommunications networks" and "on-line social networking services."
iPhone 4 near becoming most popular Flickr camera
The iPhone 4 should soon carry the distinction of being the most popular camera on Flickr. The Yahoo-owned site's Camera Finder shows Apple's phone on the verge of overtaking the Nikon D90 and having already passed Canon's EOS 5D Mark II, Rebel T1i, and Rebel XSi. Without timestamps, it's unclear exactly when the shift began, but it followed after a surge a significant amount of time after the iPhone 4 was on sale.
Google mobile app recognizes faces for profiles
(Update 3: CNN backtracks, Google clarifies) Google is developing a mobile app that would recognize faces for the sake of profiles, the company's image recognition directo Harmut Neven said in an interview. The app, possibly a variant on Google Goggles, would link a person's to a Google profile. Neven's approach as described to CNN would give users quick access to contact information, much like a personal business card, and could also show photos from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and other sites attached to an account.
Motorola details changes to Motoblur, Media Link
At MWC on Monday, Motorola also revealed newly revamped software for Mac and PC users, with Media Link 1.5. At the same time, the company added a number of features to its Motoblur skin for cell phones. The new Media Link software is now available for Mac computers and will ship for PCs in March. It lets users easily transfer multimedia content from iTunes and Windows Media Player onto Motorola handsets.
Bloggie Touch cameras get Mac software
Sony recently released a software update for its Bloggie Touch HD cameras that will finally allow users to easily manage and upload their photos and videos. The software can be downloaded from Sony's support site and lets users quickly upload content to sites such as Flickr, Picasa, Personal Space, YouTube and Facebook. Before, Mac users had to manually transfer files onto their Macs by clicking and dragging before having to upload to each site manually.
Samsung unveils SH100 ahead of CES
Samsung added another camera in its pre-CES run today with a unique smartphone angle. The SH100 can make a Wi-Fi connection to at least one of Samsung's own Android phones, such as one of its Galaxy S line, to act as a remote control and sharing hub. It can not only push media to Facebook, Picasa and YouTube but preview the live shot, take the photo and geotag the resulting images.
Vudu boxes get same features as partner hardware
Vudu just announced it has updated its set-top boxes with software that will bring newfound features. The boxes will now have the same full streaming capabilities that HDTVs and Blu-ray players of partners do. This includes HDX movie streams, without having to wait any for them to download, as in the past. Users need to have a minimum broadband speed of 4.5Mbps, however.
Toshiba UL605 and SL400 LED-lit TVs hit US
Toshiba expanded its LED-backlit TVs a second time in as many days on Thursday, this time by focusing on mainstream buyers. The UL605 series replaces the UX600 with a thinner shape despite using its edge-lit LED backlights and a 120Hz panel. Full details of the changes aren't available, but it still has a bundled USB Wi-Fi adapter for access to Vudu movies, Flickr and Picasa photos, DLNA media sharing and Facebook or Twitter social networking.
Panasonic intros Full HD 3D Blu-ray home theaters
Panasonic today showed off its first 108p 3D Blu-ray home theater systems, including the SC-BTT750 and SC-BTT350. Each is Viera Cast-compatible and allows access to Netflix, Amazon VOD, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg TV, weather and other services. The BTT750 has a Wi-Fi adapter while a DY-WL10 adapter needs to be purchased separately for the BTT350.
We review Seagate GoFlex 3TB Drive, Net, TV
Seagate has been synonymous with storage for decades, but it has often followed a relatively conservative path. GoFlex changes that; it promises to keep external hard drives almost futureproof by making the ports as removable as the drives themselves. With that in mind, we've made a comprehensive review of the main GoFlex lineup, including the GoFlex TV media hub, GoFlex Net network-attached storage hub, and the range-topping 3TB GoFlex Desk external drive.
Twitter now on VIERA Cast TVs, coming to Blu-rays
Panasonic announced on Tuesday it has now allowed owners of Viera plasma TVs to post Twitter messages using these devices. This functionality is also due to arrive soon for the company's Blu-ray players. Viera CAST Panasonic devices can access the Internet.
Samsung E10 and ST80 cameras reach US
Samsung late this morning launched a pair of rare pocketable cameras as part of the long run-up to the Photokina show in September. Leading the group, the HMX-E10 is one of the few pocket camcorders to have a swiveling lens. Movie makers can pivot the lens through a 270-degree arc independent from the body; the change simplifies video self-portraits and other off-angle shots.
Wireless version set to ship next week
Syabas has begun shipping its PopBox media hub slightly ahead of its revised schedule, as the Ethernet version is currently in-stock at retailers such as Amazon.com. Customers will still have to wait until next week for the Wi-Fi variant, however.
LG announces 3D TV bundle deal
LG has unveiled new 3D TV bundles that include its Infinia LED HDTVs and 3D-capable BX580 Blu-ray player. To help encourage sales, LG will offer two free pairs of the 3D active shutter glasses needed for viewing 3D content to buyers of either an LX9500 or LX6500-series HDTV with the 3D Blu-ray player. Called the 1-2-3D bundle, it also includes a $100 instant rebate and a mail-in coupon for a free IMAX 3D movie, Under the Sea.
Popbox finally launching this month
Syabas has established a concrete ship date for the Popbox. The media hub should ship on July 23. It was originally due to ship July 4, but the company had decided that the software to go with the firmware "wasn’t quite where we wanted it" and held off for nearly three weeks. Pre-orders had already begun in May.
Mitsubishi intros 75-inch 3D-ready LaserVue TV
Mitsubishi Electronics added one of the largest 3D-ready HDTVs on the market to its range on Wednesday, with the 75-inch LaserVue L75-A91. The new set adds Cinema Color mode and StreamTV, or access to internet-based media. This includes 1080p movies from Vudu, streaming music from Pandora and photos from Flickr and Picasa. To get 3D, the set requires a separately sold 3D Starter Pack, 3DC-1000, which includes two active shutter 3D glasses, a 3D emitter, 3D adapter with remote and an HDMI cable.
Videos uploaded via 3G or Wi-Fi
Cerevo has introduced an updated version of its social camera, which now supports Ustream broadcasting. The redesigned model, referred to as the Cerevo Cam Live, will allow users to livestream video directly from the device via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connections or even 3G networks. Other automatic upload options include YouTube, Picasa, or Twitter hosts.
Seagate GoFlex drives, media hub debut
Seagate tonight overhauled its entire external hard drive line in a way that renders them much more future proof. GoFlex supports USB 2.0 natively but has a unique cable system that adapts the drives to different standards or features. A drive could be upgraded to USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 just by getting the relevant adapter; an automatic backup cable can turn the drive into a backup system without needing more elaborate hardware.
iPad to have limited album format support
iPhoto has "much better" organizational features than Google's Picasa, claims Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The statement comes in response to an e-mailed question about the iPad Photos app, in particular asking whether people will be able to import Picasa face and album data into Photos through iTunes. Apple should support the Picasa library format, the e-mail proposes.
Toshiba outs Wi-Fi equipped LED TVs, more
Toshiba on Monday said it has released its new UX600 series of LED TVs, along with the G300, E200, C100 LCD TV, and CV100 families. The UX600s include Net TV, which brings built-in Wi-Fi for access to VUDU Movies, a library of more than 3,000 1080p movies with 5.1-channel surround sound. Net TV also streams Pandora Internet radio and creates custom music channels.
Google buys Picnik for Picasa image editing
Google this afternoon said it has bought Picnik, a web-based image editing site. Neither company has unveiled the terms of the deal or their immediate plans, though Google has said the deal will help it "improve the online photo editing experience." Picnik as a service is expected to remain as-is for the near future.
Motorola update for Droid to bring Goggles, more
Motorola in the past day outlined what the upcoming Android 2.1 software update for its Droid smartphone will bring. It notably centers on the expected multi-touch support and allows pinch-to-zoom not just in Google Maps but also the browser and photo gallery. Avid texters should appreciate the new voice recognition feature that lets them speak an entry instead of typing it into a text field; users just have to swipe across the keyboard.
Google Buzz merges media, Twitter, more
Google at its event today gave its users a new real-time status update system. Google Buzz aggregates live updates from a user's Google contacts and shows not just direct messages but updates from Twitter, Google Reader updates, and media posts from Flickr, Picasa and YouTube. Photos and videos are given special treatment and include special media browsers to view content without having to leave the existing environment.
Gmail to add more interactive services
Google will soon add a feature to its Gmail service that will allow users to share their status, much like on popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a Monday WSJ report (subscription required). While the news is not yet official, it is expected to be made so as early as this week. The add-on will include a module that will display status updates of a user's Gmail contacts.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz uses S60, records HD
Sony Ericsson has inadvertently revealed the finished version of its Kurara through a Spanish launch. Now called the Vivaz, it resembles a smaller, sleeker version of the XPERIA X10 but runs on Symbian S60 like the Satio and is rare in its HD recording. The all-touch phone can capture 720p video, play it back and even upload it to Picasa or YouTube with its resolution intact.
Samsung intros three new Shark media phones
Samsung has released three new multimedia phones on Thursday, with the candy bar Shark (S5350), slider Shark 2 (S5550) and Shark 3 (S3550). Each has integrated Social Networking Services (SNS) that consist of shortcuts to social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and other favorite sites. At the same time, users can quickly upload to sites that include Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and YouTube.
Samsung CL80 also has 14MP, 7X zoom
Samsung has inadvertently tipped its hand as to a camera it may introduce at CES. The CL80 is poised to be Samsung's first real connected camera and will have Wi-Fi to upload to Facebook, Flickr, Photobox and Picasa without having to sync with a computer. Its interface will be similarly advanced as Samsung promises a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen with haptic (vibration) feedback as the primary control scheme.
VUDU gets Flickr, Pandora, Picasa, other apps
VUDU on Thursday announced that it has brought brought three key Internet apps to VUDU-enabled TVs. These are the same apps that were already available on the VUDU box and include Picasa, Flickr, Pandora, a free TV on-demand service and a few simple games. VUDU says it brought these apps to the TVs from its partners due to popular demand.
Acer Liquid carries Android 1.6
Acer on Wednesday made a new claim to the fastest smartphone available with the Liquid. The company's first Android phone, it's one of the first to ship with Android 1.6 but is also the first Android phone to ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Using the 1GHz chip makes it faster than the 800MHz Samsung Moment and helps drive the 800x480 touchscreen as well as speed up 3D and Android's already accurate web browser.
Fonera 2.0n now in US
Fon today formally rolled out its once-teased Fonera 2.0n router. The new update adds 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds but is better known for adding built-in clients for several services independently of computers. Owners can upload content to Facebook, Flickr, Megaupload, Picasa, RapidShare and YouTube when the relevant computer is turned off; it can also download BitTorrents and send Twitter updates to signal when a transfer has been completed or a guest connects to the public hotspot.
Google software replicates features from iPhoto
Google on Tuesday announced that it has released an update to its photo software, Picasa. Version 3.5 adds several new features, including facial recognition technology that is designed to automatically organize content based on the subjects in the pictures. The system works in a similar way to Apple's application, iPhoto, which added facial recognition early in the year.
Home Base shares wireless USB devices
Belkin has introduced its Home Base networking hub on Tuesday, which allows users to share peripherals using their existing wireless networks, including printers, external hard drives or other USB devices. The Home Base is compatible with other Wi-Fi b/g/n devices and will also allow users to automatically back up a connected computer's files onto a designated and connected USB hard drive.
Pioneer demos Entertainment Tap
Pioneer at the CEDIA expo today provided demonstrations of its first networked media hub. The concept device shown on the floor, so far known only as the Entertainment Tap, still has a Blu-ray player but is intended for online media playback first and foremost: it can recognize media from DLNA-ready devices over Ethernet or Wi-Fi and has access to Netflix movies, Picasa photos and YouTube videos. Mobile control is also a high priority as the Tap can not only stream its content to a handheld over the Internet but could use an iPhone or iPod touch as a remote control for all of its functions.
Journe Touch supports HD, network streaming
Toshiba produced a surprise at IFA today with word of a touchscreen media tablet of its own. The Journe Touch is treated as a high-end mobile Internet device (MID) with an emphasis on video playback: the device can play HD video either at a reduced resolution on its 800x480 display or at full resolution through an HDMI output. Its Wi-Fi is used that way as well, as web browsing is considered secondary to streaming Internet video from YouTube or the movie service Acetrax.
Mitsubishi ships VUDU-enabled Unisen HDTVs
Mitsubishi announced on Thursday that it has integrated VUDU support for the flagship Diamond models in its Unisen Immersive Sound range of LCD HDTVs. This will give users access to VUDU's extensive library that include thousands of HD movies and TV shows. The two Diamond Unisen models, the 46-inch LT-46249 and 52-inch LT-52249, have an Ethernet port that allows them to connect to the web. Otherwise, there is an optional VUDU wireless accessory bridge for hooking up to existing home networks.
Cerevo on Saturday unveiled its first product, a camera designed explicitly for Internet uploads. The CerevoCam is simple, with just a 9-megapixel (but CMOS) sensor and basic controls, but includes 802.11n Wi-Fi for an automatic photo upload feature. It can send photos either to the company's own CerevoLife site, which hosts 5GB of free storage, or else put the content on established sites like Flickr, Picasa, or Twitter-oriented photo hosts.
Pana Amazon VOD for Blu
Panasonic this morning gave all of its Viera Cast Blu-ray players support for Amazon's Video On Demand service. The feature gives the company's more advanced disc readers from 2009, including its portable reader, the option of streaming purchases and rentals directly from the reader without needing the storage for a complete copy. Using VOD isn't dependent on having a matching Panasonic TV (which already supports the feature) and supports HD with a sufficiently fast connection.
Fonera 2n Router
FON today significantly improved its core wireless router by launching the Fonera 2.0n. The device appropriately has 802.11n Wi-Fi for faster speeds and longer ranges than the older 11g model. More importantly, though, it adds USB and dedicated clients for multiple services directly on the router. Owners can download from BitTorrent, Megaupload or Rapidshare to USB storage without turning on a computer; they can also upload photos or videos to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or YouTube from an attached camera.
Android 1.5 for US
(Update with official info) T-Mobile will officially put Google's Android 1.5 on G1 smartphones early next week, the company said today. In spite of having already pushed the update early to some users, T-Mobile USA hopes to have the update begin in earnest before the end of next week. The rollout will take place in phases to manage the load and will let every phone get the update by the end of May.