Friday, August 31, 2012

New Android gaming tablet ‘GamePad’ announced by Archos

Archos has unveiled a new 7″ tablet targeted at gamers who might prefer buttons and joysticks over tapping a touchscreen.  The tablet runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz and a quad-core Mali 400 MP GPU. The device will have physical controls for gaming including an integrated D-pad, ABXY buttons, and two analog thumb sticks in addition to the standard touchscreen.

Like a regular tablet, it will be wi-fi enabled and have access to Google Play and its accompanying games, e-mail and apps.

Other specs revealed â€" a micro USB port, 8GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot that adds up to 64GB and a mini-HDMI connection for outputting content to your TV.

The GamePad supports game controller APIs built into version 4.x of Android and includes Archos’ own game recognition and mapping tools which ensure that the physical buttons are compatible with Android games that use virtual controls. Archos has said that over 1,000 games available through the Google Play Store are already supported.

Archos has announced pricing as ‘less than €150’ or about $250 with a release date of ‘the end of October 2012’.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Samsung introduces Galaxy Note II

Not surprisingly, Samsung announced the follow up to their phablet- the Galaxy Note II at IFA. Increasing the screen size to 5.5″ but keeping the resolution at 1280×800, the Note now comes with a redesign S Pen with 1024 levels of pressure, Android 4.1 and a 1.6GHz Quad Core Exynos processor. Best of all, it comes with a 3100mAh battery to last you a long time!

Unreal Engine 3 running on ASUS Windows RT Tablet

Gamers looking forward to new Windows RT tablet have something to rejoice for today. Shown in the video below is an ASUS Vivo Windows RT tablet running on Tegra 3 showcasing Unreal 3 engine at pretty amazing frame rates

This is the full PC version of the the Unreal Engine 3 that powers games like the Mass Effect series, Batman series and Infinity Blade Series.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sony Xperia SL Smartphone Coming to UAE in August

Press Release: Sony Mobile Communications today announced that its new Xperia SL smartphone will be made available in the UAE in early September. Based on the popular Xperia S, recognised as having the sharpest HD smartphone display in a report from Strategy Analytics, Xperia SL has the same stunning 4.3” HD display for excellent viewing with razor sharp clarity. Additionally both rear- and front-facing cameras deliver HD recording capabilities, with HD video chat and easy HDMI connectivity to TV for consumers to enjoy all their content on the big screen.

Xperia SL features 12MP fast capture camera that goes from sleep to snap in just over a second with a single key press, and comes with a powerful 1.7GHz dual core processor for superfast performance. Xperia SL is launching on Android platform 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Spyridon Gousetis, Director of Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications, Middle East and Africa said: “The Xperia SL continues the winning streak of the previous Xperia S. These next generation smartphones capture the thrill of high definition, and the design and form factor of the entire series allows people to do more. With innovative features like face unlock, we anticipate that Xperia SL will capture the imaginations of the young tech genius as well the business phone user.”

Providing premium entertainment, Xperia SL will come preloaded with Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited from Sony Entertainment Network, and is also PlayStation™ Certified.Three new media applications (“WALKMAN”, “ALBUM” and “MOVIES”) provide enhanced entertainment experiences, combining the best Sony technologies and social media connectivity to share content amongst friends.

Key Features for Xperia SL:

- 4.3 inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine with HD resolution screen, as well as front (720p) and back (1080p) cameras for HD recording.
- HD sharing through DLNA, HDMI and BRAVIA Sync to quickly and easily stream content on other screens.
- 32GB flash storage and 1.7GHz dual core processor gives consumers superfast performance for instant gaming, browsing and apps.
- 12MP rear camera with Sony Exmor Râ„¢ for mobile with fast capture to go from sleep to snap in just over a second.
- NFC (Near Field Communications) enabled to access growing range of NFC applications and services as well as Xperia SmartTags

Available through leading electronic stores, Xperia SL will be priced at AED 2,049.

Monday, August 27, 2012

LinkedIn to open office in Dubai

After Facebook opened their first office in the region, specifically Dubai Internet City three months ago, it’s not surprising to see one of the biggest social netwroking websites in the world for industry professionals is following suit.

According to The National, LinkedIn has already advertised for six positions for the proposed Dubai office. And while talks are ongoing, nothing is confirmed according to one Dubai Internet City executive. ”They have shown an interest. There has been a discussion,” the executive said.

LinkedIn themselves have so far declined to comment on the job postings, however sources close to them put the launch of the new office in Dubai by September of October this year. The local office is expected to advertise recruiting services for corporate positions, competing with existing firms such as Hays and Claredon Parker, etc.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apple vs Samsung – it’s all over

In what has been probably one of the highest-covered trials in recent times, the big battle between Apple and Samsung has finally come to an end.

The nine jurors in the case finally came to a decision yesterday in the battle of the tech giants, siding finally with Apple in most of the patent infringement claims against Samsung. While Apple initially sought close to $2.75 billion in damages, the jury eventually ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Some of the claims highlighted by the jury included:

- Jury found Samsung infringement of Apple utility, design patents for some (though not all) products.
- Jury found willful infringement on five of six patents.
- Jury upheld Apple utility, design patents.
- Jury upheld Apple trade dress ’983.
- Jury found Samsung diluted” Apple’s registered iPhone, iPhone 3, and Combination iPhone” trade dress on some products, not on others.
- Jury found no Apple infringement of Samsung utility patents.
- Jury found Samsung did not violate antitrust law by monopolizing markets related to the UMTS standard.

(The complete jury form can be found here)

The Apple vs Samsung battle has been one of the most closely observed tech trials, stretching over a number of weeks with endless battles between each company in a struggle to out-wit and out-ban the other. While a massive amount of evidence was revealed from both parties, including some information on products that never saw the light of day, it was ultimately Samsung’s undoing when it revealed several internal documents that compared its prototype smartphone to the iPhone, and offered clues on how it could be improved upon to look more like an iPhone.

(via CNET)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

HP posts nearly $9 billion quarterly loss

In their recent financial call, Hewlett-Packard Co. reported a quarterly loss of $8.9 billion. Overall sales declined by 5% over the previous year, to $29.7 billion, earning them $2 billion for the three months ending July 2012.

While stagnating PC sales was a prime contributor to the low sales, the major reason for the colossal loss is mainly because of the write-down of $10.8 billion for Electronic Data Systems Corp. and other recent acquisitions.

We are still in the early stage of the turnaround. There will be challenges ahead that could create some variability in performance,” said CEO Meg Whitman to Reuters. But I’m confident in our ability to work through them and get to where we want to be.”

HP, along with their smaller rival Dell are also trying to face off stiff competition from Asian firms like Lenovo and Acer, not just a consumer market that’s increasingly replacing smartphones and tablets with PCs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Logitech debuts washable keyboard

Probably the biggest issues we have with desktop keyboards is how much of dirt and crap can get stuck underneath the keys. Not to mention those fateful days where you spill a cup of coffee across your keyboard and have to kiss your keyboard goodbye.

Logitech seems to understand your pain, and today announced the K310, a washable keyboard that can be wiped down or even rinsed under running water. The keyboard has special drainage holes at the back to allow liquids to escape, and can be fully immersed in up to 11 inches of water. Drying the device is as simple as leaving it out in the sun – the keys have been specially treated to avoid fading by sunlight or water, and will retail in US markets for around $39.99 with a European launch later this year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sony NEX-5R and NEX-6 photos get leaked

Recent pictures leaked via Sony Alpha Rumors seem to confirm that Sony’s upcoming NEX cameras will have built-in WiFi chips for instant internet connectivity. Both the NEX-5R and NEX-6 appear to have WiFi chips in addition giving us a proper glimpse of what the final products will look like.

The NEX-5R comes with a completely new 16MP APS-C sensor, but otherwise looks pretty much the same as the NEX-5N. The NEX-6 which is to sit between the NEX-5R and the flagship NEX-7, it will also come with the new 16MP sensor and going in-line with the NEX-7, will also have a built-in EVF, although one of a lower resolution.

The NEX-5R is expected to seel for $700 with the kit lens, while the NEX-6 is expected to sell around $1000.

Both cameras come with APP support which will allow you to surf the net as well. Release dates will presumably be around October, so expect them to launch around GITEX 2012.

Monday, August 20, 2012

User screenshot points out Windows 8 design inconsistencies

While Windows 8 may have been getting plenty of flak for its forced Metro interface, a forum user has taken a series of screenshots that point out Windows 8′s various design inconsistencies.

It’s not easy to design a UI for a program, let alone an entire OS, but if you’re Microsoft you’re going to want to at least run some proper tests on your UI so it looks good throughout. There are a number of design inconsistencies such as missing borders around UI elements, items not aligned or grouped properly, and uneven spacing. While this may sound like just a lot of nitpicking that the average user won’t notice, it’s still a bit surprising that these little quirks have made their way into the RTM version of Windows 8.

Check out more screenshots and the entire forum thread here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

HP eyeing tablet market again

In an internal memo at HP, the company is apparently looking to re-enter the consumer tablet market.

According to a report by The Verge, the newly created ‘Mobility’ division will focus on consumer tablets, as well as looking at additional segments and categories where we believe we can offer differentiated value to our customers”. The division will be headed by Alberto Torres, who previously worked with Nokia. The company’s purported ‘commercial tablet’ will still fall under its PC division.

HP are no stranger to the tablet market, having attempted their own tablet launch last year with the WebOS HP TouchPad. But after dismal sales and failure to lure consumers, HP were forced to cease production and slash the price of their tablet down to $99 for a 16GB version in order to clear through stocks.

With Windows 8 on its way it makes sense for HP to want to take another stab at the consumer tablet market, however with the market already crowded with various manufacturers, it remains to be seen if HP really did learn their lessons from the TouchPad launch or not.

(via The Verge)

Adobe shuts down Flash for Android

Adobe has announced that it is removing the Flash app from Google’s Android OS. It will now no longer be available on the Google Play store.

This effectively removes Flash support from the future of mobile web and follows a decision made last November by Adobe to stop development of the software for mobile devices.

Adobe told BBC that it was removing the option to install the plug-in because it was likely to exhibit unpredictable behaviour” when used with Jelly Bean, the most recent Android based OS.

The decline of Flash can be traced back to Apple refusing to allow it to be installed on iPhones and iPads. HTML5 has emerged as the new alternative, with many companies adopting it in favour of Adobe’s technology. Adobe itself acknowledged HTML5 as the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms” on its blog last year.

Flash is clearly ceding ground to HTML5 and in what could be a final blow, Microsoft recently said that it will only have ‘limited support’ for Flash on Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RealPlayer hits Google Play store

RealNetworks’ RealPlayer was probably one of the most annoying media players I used on my PC. The barrage of adverts, annoying startup times, and generally sluggish performance of the app made me quickly ditch it for more lightweight media and streaming players.

But in a bid to woo the everyday mobile user, RealNetworks has announced that RealPlayer has finally landed on the Google Play store. The app allows you to play music and videos, as well as scroll through photos on your device.

It’s certainly not an earth-shattering app by any means, though a $4.99 upgrade will unlock ‘premium’ features such as an equalizer, widgets, no adverts, and editing metadata for music tracks.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, get the RealPlayer app here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

LivingSocial looking to pull out of Middle East

US-based daily deals website LivingSocial is looking to pull its operations out of the Middle East, just under a year of entering into the market. The firm acquired local deals site GoNabIt back in June 2011, but since then has faced stiff competition from a barrage of similar websites launching in the region.

According to a report in The National, anonymous sources say that LivingSocial is rumored to be in talks to sell its 750,000-strong subscriber list, which is predominantly based in UAE, Egypt and Lebanon. The closure follows up from the Netherlands operations closing down earlier this year, a mere six months after launching. Its other business LivingSocial Adventures which caters to activities such as skydiving also shut down in around thirty markets that it was operating in.

Read the entire report here.

Monday, August 13, 2012 tries to woo Gmail users to switch over

Not happy with the supposed 1 million signups for, Microsoft are looking to slyly poach Gmail users to switch over to their new web-based email service.

In an official blog post on the Outlook Blog, the company posted a guide on how users can effortlessly ditch Gmail and transfer their emails over to

Microsoft coyly says that users will never see adverts based on their emails, saying won’t use the contents of your personal email to show you ads; in fact, you won’t see ads when reading email from friends.”

You can read the entire blog post and ponder switching to here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Is Microsoft calling Metro ‘Modern UI’?

After citing discussion with an important European partner”, Microsoft decided to disassociate the ‘Metro’ name from Windows 8 (the retailer has a similar name). Since then, the Cupertinos are confused what to call the operating system’s new titled UI.

ZDnet recently reported that ‘Metro-styled applications’ would become ‘Windows 8 applications’ and the ‘Metro user interface’ would be called ‘Windows 8 user interface’, however, The Verge’s weekend finding suggest that Microsoft is going for a completely different appellation.

A series of Microsoft Events and MSN Blogs are referencing the new interface as ‘Modern UI’, including variations such as ‘Modern UI Style apps’ and even ‘Modern UI-Style UI’.

Microsoft were to decide the new term for its interface end of last week, but have not announced anything on that front yet. So far, the company has provided only the following statement regarding the matter to Neowin:

We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crush through traffic with Stompy, the six-legged robot

Remember that slightly satisfying feeling of crushing an empty soda can under your foot? Wonder what it would feel like if you were crushing a car instead of a can?

Well wonder no more, because the crack team behind Project Hexapod have already set their sights on a new project called Stompy.

To put it mildly, Stompy is a six-legged, 1.8 ton two-seater robot, whose sole purpose in life is to crush things underfoot. Oh and supposedly navigate treacherous terrain and help on rescue missions in the future – sorry, I was distracted by all the crushing potential.

Stompy is currently $50,000 into its $65,000 funding goal, but if you can whip up $300,000, the team will build you your very own Stompy – not to be used for world domination purposes of course. Rewards for supporting the project include having your name shouted from the top of a mountain, a video of an object of your choice being stomped on, to getting a ride on Stompy when it’s completed. The project currently is pretty much just a leg and bit of chassis now.

If you aren’t completely terrified and Stompy has stomped its way into your heart, you can check out the project here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

iPhone survives 1,000 ft fall

What is it with companies wanting to torture iPhones? Whether they’re being dropped, blended, thrown, or driven over, there’s no shortage of clips on YouTube of the lovely iPhone being put through some very dubious torture tests.

The latest one comes from iPhone case-maker G-Form, who decided it would be a great idea to leap out of a plane and send an iPhone plummeting to the earth from 1,000 feet. While the video may or may not convince you that their products are worth the abuse, I’m still suffering from a serious bout of vertigo just watching the video.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Wow! Facebook becomes Online Gambling Sites

Facebook will allow users to use the British real money while playing the game of gambling that utilizes social networking platform.

This exit permit after Facebook opened the doors of cooperation with game developers Gamesys to launch an online version of the game Bingo gambling. Later, users are aged over 18 can play with real money.

"The game of online gambling with real money, including the popular and in accordance with the rules in the UK then we berpatner with game developers to bring it on Facebook, which is specifically reserved for adult members. So it is safe and can be well controlled," Facebook explained in a statement.

Meanwhile, Facebook spokesman added by Linda Griffin, although the game will open up online gambling with real money in the UK, make sure not to open up similar platforms in other countries and other game developer studio.

Unfortunately, Grifin reluctant to disclose information about how the portion of the distribution of the results obtained by Facebook from these online gambling games.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Google’s self-driving cars logs in 300,000 miles

And Google said, let there be self-driving cars! And in a flash of thunderous dollars, there were self-driving cars…!

The search giant has said that its wondrous, we-can’t-wait-till-its-mainstream self-driving cars have logged in 300,000 miles of accident-free testing on actual roads. That’s better than 100% of drivers in Sharjah – that is indeed quite amazing.

Despite the milestone, Google says there’s still a long way to go. The testings have only been done on normal, drivable roads – snow-caked roadways, temporary construction signals and lane-less Sharjah roads are yet to master. As a next step, the company will soon allow members of the self-driving cars to go on solo rides, rather than in pairs, for things like commuting to work. Google hopes that one day this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars.”

We would like that, yes.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Windows RT tablets to launch with limited version of Office

A rumor is going around that Microsoft will ship a stripped-down version of Office 2013 RT when it launches its Windows RT tablets.

Currently referred to as a ‘preview’ edition, the version will not have certain features such as macros, visual basic editor, and certain third-party addins, similar to the ‘starter’ edition of Office 2010 that now bundles with most PCs and laptops. The decision to remove certain features was purely to extend the battery life of the Windows RT tablet, though a fully-featured version of Office 2013 can be purchased and installed if required.

Microsoft have yet to confirm this or provide more details, but if it’s true the company will certainly receive plenty of disagreement from expert Office users who might actually need to use the very features that Microsoft is looking to strip out.

(via The Verge)

Visual Studio 2012 leaks to web (surprised?)

Oh Microsoft, it looks like this isn’t your week at all. After its precious Windows 8 Enterprise leaked to the web, its development platform Visual Studio 2012 was also leaked today, shortly after it hit RTM. According to this post on, the build is legitimate and furthermore does not require a key for activation.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Even John Carmack does not like Windows 8

Microsoft maybe flogging Windows 8 as the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s increasingly failing to garner love from video game developers. After Gabe Newell openly called Microsoft’s new touch-friendly operating system a disaster”, a number of key developers too joined in the chorus. Blizzard’s Rob Pardo called Windows 8 not awesome” for the company, whereas Minecraft creator Markus Notch spoke against Microsoft’s decision to lock down” the platform. Now, id Software’s John Carmack is the latest one to bash the upcoming OS.

During his keynote at QuakeCon 2012, Carmack said that while he has more respect for Microsoft than others, he is pretty darn happy” working with Windows 7 at the moment, and he would be happy if Windows 8 didn’t actually exist. He is, however, excited for the Surface tablet, but said there was nothing to look forward to in Windows 8.

Carmack admitted that currently no one at id Software is working with Windows 8, but said they should probably start testing it since Doom 3 BFG Edition will be releasing very close to Windows 8 in October.

You can watch the entire, nearly 4-hours long keynote below. The Windows bit comes at the 2:47 hour mark.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Electronic Arts sues Zynga

Electronic Arts (EA) has filed a copyright infringement case on behalf of its Maxis Label, which created ‘The Sims Social’. The Sims Social was released on Facebook in August 2011 as an extension of its popular Sims PC game franchise. Zynga’s The Ville came out in June 2012.

In a 40 page filing, EA pointed out numerous game elements it claimed Zynga ripped off in “The Ville,” from personality traits to avatars’ actions, such as conversing and dancing. In another example, EA claimed “The Ville” characters included eight personality types, ranging from athlete to villain, that echoed “The Sims” own jock-to-scoundrel lineup. EA also accused Zynga of using eight identical colors for its characters’ skin-tone palette.


Reginald Davis, Zynga’s general counsel, hit back in response, “It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles”.

This is not the first time Zynga has been accused of copying other developer’s games.

It may be remembered that the social gaming giant’s ‘Dream Heights’ bared more than a passing resemblance to indie developer Nimblebit’s iPhone game ‘Tiny Tower’. But this is the first time Zynga has butted heads with a company as large as EA.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Dropbox security compromised

In a blog post yesterday, Dropbox confirmed that their security has been breached. Apparently some users were getting spam emails on the email addresses they used for their Dropbox account.

Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts.” Additionally, it was discovered that, ” a stolen password was also used to access an employee Dropbox account containing a project document with user email addresses. We believe this improper access is what led to the spam.”

Of course the Dropbox team has contacted the affected users as well as taken additional steps to ensure such an issue doesn’t happen in the future.

The following steps are being implemented:

  • - Two-factor authentication, a way to optionally require two proofs of identity (such as your password and a temporary code sent to your phone) when signing in. (Coming in a few weeks)
  • - New automated mechanisms to help identify suspicious activity. We’ll continue to add more of these over time.
  • - A new page that lets you examine all active logins to your account.
  • - In some cases, we may require you to change your password. (For example, if it’s commonly used or hasn’t been changed in a long time)

Regardless, we advise our readers to go ahead and change their Dropbox passwords immediately, just in case.