Saturday, September 29, 2012

GITEX Shopper begins in Dubai

GITEX Shopper kicked off today, at its new home at the Dubai World Trade Center Exhibition Hall. Located in the Sheikh Saeed Hall, the show’s new venue aims to provide easier access for consumers via the Dubai Metro station, situated right outside the exhibition halls.

GITEX Shopper attracts hundreds of visitors each year, keen to grab great bargains on everything from laptops and digital cameras to mobile phones and tablets. Show exhibitors include retailers such as Jumbo Electronics, Jacky’s, Emax, Plug-ins and Sharaf DG, along with other recognized brand names such as HP, ASUS, HTC, and many more.

The show will run from 29th September to 6th October, opening 11am to 10pm on weekdays and 11am to 11pm on the weekend.

For more information, visit the official site here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tim Cook apologizes for the Maps app

Here’s something I have never seen Apple do.

In an official statement on its website, CEO Tim Cook apologized for its home-brewed Maps app which it introduced in the iOS 6 update. Since its launch, the infamous app has been underfire from users (and competitors alike) for its amazing inability to show proper locations and landscapes. Here are few examples of what this about.

Addressing it, Cook said, At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Cook adds that since the app was built from the ground up, the problems users are facing with it might go on for a little while longer. As such, he suggest users try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps” while he and his team continue to work on Maps until it lives up to the same incredibly high standard” that Apple is generally known for.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 – now in pink

While the BlackBerry Bold 9900 continues to enjoy being the high-end device from RIM, a lot of people, myself included, prefer the slightly smaller size of the Bold 9790. The Bold 9790 has been available in black and white for some time now and it seems that a new color is about to join the family- say hello the the pink BlackBerry Bold 9790.

The light pink color is sure to delight quite a few female BlackBerry fans (and possibly some of the opposite gender.) The front of the device as well as the back cover are a light-rose pink color while the edges are shiny silver- much like the white and black BlackBerry Bold 9790 models. This certainly makes the BlackBerry Bold 9790 pink a good looking device.

The included accessories such as the charger and the USB cable are white in color.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New quartz glass chip by Hitachi could store your data forever

Japanese electronics giant Hitachi unveiled a glimpse at the future of long-lasting digital storage and it’s a piece of glass.

This two centimeter square and two millimeter thick sliver of quartz glass can hold 40 megabytes of data per square inch.  The new technology stores binary data by using a laser beam to create dots inside the thin sheet of quartz glass which can then be read using an optical microscope connected to a monitor with data reading software. Moreover, the chip is as tough as they come. Quartz glass is a highly stable and resilient material and can withstand hostile conditions like water (tsunamis), heat (high temperature flames and heat up to 1,000 degrees Celsius for two hours), radio waves and most chemicals. So, theoretically Hitachi’s glass chip would be capable of storing digital information for a few hundred million years.

While this is only a prototype, chips developed from quartz glass plate technology could have real potential to replace CDs and hard drives which have a lifespan of a few decades to a century at most.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sharp launches new 80″ Aquos LED TV

If you’ve got some space and spare cash to boot, why not splurge on Sharp’s swanky new 80″ Aquos LED TV. The TV features a full-HD X-Gen Panel and other features such as Internet integration, USB inputs, and stellar image quality. Starting at a suggested retail price of AED 35,999 this is one TV you’re going to have start saving for in advance.

Press Release: Dubai, 24 September 2012 â€" Sharp, an industry leader in large flat panel TVs and innovator of LCD/LED TV technology, today announced the introduction of the region’s first commercially available 80 inch Aquos LED TV to the Middle East. The company’s new offerings are its way to demonstrate a luxurious modern lifestyle to its UAE customers this GITEX. Sharp’s LED TV line-up offers unrivalled picture quality and impressive functionality exhibiting industry leading energy-efficiency.

The new Aquos LED TV is part of the “From Bigger to Biggest” product line-up which reiterates Sharp’s position as the leader in LCD/LED TV category. In its 100th year since foundation, Sharp is dedicating its latest offerings to the modern family and its high-end urban needs. On one hand, Sharp’s large TV products enhance the customer’s home entertainment experience with the optimization provided by smart TV features. While on the other hand, it offers cutting edge appliances for today’s sophisticated kitchen where the modern family increasingly spends more time together.

80 Inch “Real as life” Home Entertainment:
The full HD Japanese made panel, Sharp’s flagship 80 inch model LC-80LE940X provides more than twice the screen area of an average 55-inch TV. It features Sharp’s 4th Generation Quattron technology for better 3D viewing, plus direct LED backlighting and Aquo-motion Pro (240Hz) to decrease blur during fast-moving videos. It also boasts advanced Wi-Fi capabilities, which are further strengthened by Sharp’s smart TV interface, allowing customers to enjoy applications such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The interface also allows customized preferences which allow users to send photos, music and videos wirelessly.

“Our Big AQUOS series fulfills the demand for bigger screens while maintaining affordable prices and energy-efficiency”, said Mr. Hiroshi Sasaoka â€" Chairman at Sharp Middle East FZE. “The 80-inch AQUOS LED TV meets the consumer’s need for bigger flat panel TV. It is stylish, offers stunning picture quality, sound quality and we are proud to introduce it for the first time to the Middle East”, continued Mr. Sasaoka.

“We are always seeking to strengthen our presence in the GCC and Levant Region and our team is going through continued year-on-year growth supported by strong sales of our LCD TVs and other consumer electronics pillar products such as fridges, ACs, and PCI products. More regional offices are being established to better cater to key markets across Africa and we are also growing as a team with more than 100 staff working for us in the MEA CIS region”, he adds.

The AQUOS LC-80LE940X Television features:
- 80-inch Class (80-inch diagonal) â€" more than double the screen area of a 55-inch Class TV;
- Full HD X-Gen Panel â€" a unique leading edge technology designed with advanced pixel control to minimize light leakage and wider aperture to let more light through
- UV2A Technology â€" for high precision picture with fast control of the liquid crystal molecules to ensure uniform alignment
- Quattron â€" delivering unprecedented reality in natural colour gradations for a high-precision picture with low power consumption.
- Quad Pixel Plus 2 â€" improves picture quality details using interpolation with special correction and by processing to remove jagged edges.
- AquoMotion Pro â€" The number of frames in the picture is increased four times, motion blur is reduced for an overall better image clarity.
- MHL â€" Mobile High Definition Link
- Sound Quality â€" Audio Engine by Yamaha achieves genuine 3D surround
- Smart TV – delivers customized Internet content and live customer support via Wi-Fi to enjoy apps like Facebook and Twitter;
- USB Inputs – enable viewing high-resolution video, music and digital photos on the TV.

LC-80LE940X is now available starting September 24, 2012 at selected retail stores across the UAE at a recommended retail price of AED 35,999 (including FOCs such as five 3D glasses, one Blue-Ray Player & one Wi-Fi Dongle).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Huge Discount on GITEX Shopper Entry for Students

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Office 2013 pricing revealed

Microsoft today revealed the pricing of Office 2013. The suite will be available as standalone and as well as part of the Office 365 subscription model.

Here’s the breakdown:

- Office 365 Home Premium ($99.99 per year):

Users will get access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, both online and offline. 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 mins of Skype World calling will be included as well.

- Office 365 Small Business Premium ($149.99 per year):

This includes online and offline versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Lync, and InfoPath, as well as shared calendars, 25GB mailbox, 10GB of SharePoint storage, HD video conferencing, and free public-facing business website.

For those not interested in paying subscriptions for their Office, there are standalone packages:

- Home & Student ($139.99): Inlcudes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

- Home & Business ($219.99): Inlcudes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook

- Professional ($399.99): Inlcudes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.

Of note here is that Office 365 packages will allow users to install on upto 5 PCs, whereas standalone packages will work on just one PC.

There is no word on when Office 2013 will be available, however Microsoft said that it will be available in 277 countries at launch.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Google acquires iOS photo app Snapseed

Google has acquired Nik Software, the German developer of iOS and Mac photography app Snapseed, for an undisclosed amount. Nik Software produces a host of photography apps for Mac and Windows, but according to reports, the deal was focused around Snapseed.

We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone”, Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of engineering posted on his Google+ account about the acquisition.

Analysts are looking at this development as Google’s attempt to keep up with Facebook’s buyout of Instagram. While Snapseed may not be as popular as Instagram, it does have its own share of loyal followers with many considering its photo editing capabilities superior to its competitor app.  It was even named iPad app of 2011 by Apple.

The Verge also reports that employees from Nik Software who worked on Snapseed will relocate to Google headquarters in Mountain View to work directly on Google+. So, we might be right to lookout for Snapseed integration into Google+ soon.

Snapseed is also currently working on an Android app.

Volkswagen launches Polo sedan

Volkswagen has a huge range of market segments covered, from luxury sedans to enthusiast hatchbacks, to powerful SUVs. And while the Jetta has been great for the mainstream segment, the entry-level market for sub-compact cars has been left wanting. Well, the Polo sedan is finally here.


With a 1.6-liter, 104HP and 153Nm torque engine, the Polo sedan is adequately powerful, and great on fuel efficiency with a rated economy of just 5.9 liters/ 100kms.   While the new Polo sedan is made in Pune, India, you get the full quality German engineering you have come to expect from Volkswagen.

The new Polo sedan will retail for AED/ SAR 59,990.

Press Release

Volkswagen Middle East launches the new Polo Sedan

New Polo Sedan offers quality, reliability and German engineering for everyone in the Middle East

Dubai, UAE 17 September 2012 - Volkswagen Middle East has launched the brand-new Polo Sedan, bringing the first generation model to the Middle East.

With the highest standards of modern automotive engineering and high quality workmanship, the new Polo Sedan completes the portfolio of sedan models that Volkswagen Middle East offers to its customers in the region.

At an exceptionally competitive price, the new Polo Sedan is sleek, spacious and comfortable delivering luxury and innovation whilst being affordable.

Available with a 1.6 litre 105 PS engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission, the Polo Sedan includes 15 inch alloy wheels, dual airbags for driver and passenger, ABS, spacious interior â€" especially in the rear and central locking with keyless entry.

“The new Polo Sedan is the perfect combination of German engineering together with optimum comfort and driving characteristics,” says Marcus Butros, Sales Director, Volkswagen Middle East. “The Polo Sedan completes our sedan segment within the market following the Jetta and Passat which have been extremely well received by our customers. The Polo offers high safety standards along with driving comfort, sleek styling and affordable innovation.”

The Polo Sedan has been produced for the Middle East market in Volkswagen India’s plant in Pune. Opened in 2009 the Pune plant is one of the most modern plants in the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen has an international production network catering to all markets ensuring the reach ofGerman engineering around the world. The Pune facility is the only production plant in India operated by a German automaker and covers the entire production process from press shop, body and paint shop to final assembly.

“The Polo Sedan is the entry model into the Volkswagen portfolio and is aimed at a younger demographic who want to experience our German engineering. Many of our customers stay loyal to Volkswagen after their first experience with the brand as we provide quality, affordable innovation andcan cater to all their automotive needs. We see high potential for this model in the region, and one that will drive volume growth as we continue to be the fastest growing volume brand in the Middle East,” concluded Butros.

Exterior styling and dimensions

The Polo Sedan is 4384 mm long, 1466 mm tall and 1699 mm wide. The balance of the exterior dimensions produces a powerful ratio of proportions. In parallel, the new Volkswagen “design DNA” enhances its style. This has resulted in clear precise lines and muscular surfaces that give this sedan a dynamic styling yet keeping it timelessly elegant.

Front end: The Polo Sedan offers a very distinct, smart and elegant look. It comes with chrome trimmed front radiator and line grille that adds to its classy look.

The stylish halogen headlights and indicators give extra emphasis to its look and provide optimum vision on the road, thereby providing attention uncompromisingly on the road. Fog lamps are also a standard feature in the Polo Sedan.

Side profile: The strong, muscular lines on the sides are typical of the Volkswagen “design DNA”. It makes the Polo Sedan look powerful and also emphasise its wheel arches, giving it an overall dynamic image which can perfectly accommodate 15 inches wheels.

Rear section: A harmonised surface dominates the look at the rear of the Polo Sedan. The wide rear window offers good visibility behind the sedan while continuing to maintain its strong dynamic lines.

The squarish tail lamps give a stylish contour to the Polo Sedan and perfectly blend with the rear design. The rear light clusters with the chrome lining gives the model its unique look.

The Polo Sedan offers 455 litres of boot space for its passengers making it extremely comfortable to accommodate the family shopping bags.

Interior Highlights

The interior of the new Polo Sedan complements the exterior offering top-quality, perfectly finished fabrics and materials that provide comfort and style to its passengers. With a comprehensive chrome package and exclusive chrome trim inlays the interior of the model is modern and sleek.

When designing the new Polo Sedan Volkswagen ensured that comfort was off paramount importance. The new model has an extended wheelbase which is 82mm longer than the European Polo hatchback. The Polo Sedan has been made for the region offering features such as more rear legroom that reflect the changing needs of the Middle East customer. The car also includes “Climatic” manual air conditioning as standard in the S and SE model specifications, with “Climatronic” air condition as an optional extra. The new model also includes a practical storage concept for everyday use including; compartments in the front for water holders, storage pockets on the rear of the front seats, glove box with flap and glasses compartment and a centre console with two cup holders.

The cockpit has a modern leather steering wheel, gear knob, handbrake lever and gear lever, a dashboard design with ergonomic control layout, as well as comprehensive functional equipment with electrically adjustable side mirrors, electric remote unlocking for the boot lid and central locking.The driver-orientated cockpit also includes a radio with CD/MP3 player as standard.

Passive safety

The passive safety in the Polo Sedan has been well optimised. It is equipped with front airbags for the driver and co-driver along with an ultra high strength steel frame that makes for an indigenously structured passenger cell.

Add to that an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) which provides individual wheel braking preferences, thereby aiding better control of the car. All model lines also include cruise control as standard.

The height adjustable 3 point safety front seat belt, 3 point safety belts for the rear outboard passengers and lap belt for the middle passenger make it an extremely safe travel. Parking distance control is also optional as an added rear safety feature.

The Electronic Immobiliser is a standard feature in the new Polo Sedan. It is an anti-theft device which gets activated when the ignition key is removed and works in tandem with the engine control unit to prevent unauthorised starting of the engine.

Engines, transmission and driving dynamics

With a 1.6 litre 105 PS engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission, the new Polo is a city car that offers optimum performance for stop-and-go city driving, whilst having a long range thanks to the 55-litre fuel tank.

Price starting at SAR 59,990

Saturday, September 15, 2012

LA man drives car through Apple store window

Today in what were they thinking” news, a Los Angeles man apparently drove his SUV through the window of an Apple store, in an attempt to possibly ‘stealthily’ rob the store of a few products. In the video below, the man is shown crashing his car into the Apple store, while another man jumps out of the car and tries to grab as many Apple products as he can, before the dynamic duo make their getaway.

The ‘drive-in’ caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and a suspect is currently being held on a $600,000 bail. The Apple Store in question has since been boarded up – unless they really are installing a drive-thru.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New iPod Shuffle gets new colors and nothing else

While the entire tech world is going gaga about the new iPhone 5 and even the revamped iPod Touch and Nano, let’s show some love to the little guy in the room here. The iPod Shuffle, an ultra-budget bare-bones MP3 player by Apple which they clearly don’t care about, also got a new edition announced yesterday. But unlike the improvements and overhauls that the other bigger MP3 players received, this unfortunate little one got the shaft and the only thing that’s new to it is … some new shades and hues. That’s pretty much it.

The little portable music player gets some cool new colors like the iPod Touch, which includes the pink color which ladies will adore for sure and a red color for those social activist types. Aside from that, there’s not a single difference to be seen. We don’t know if there will be a price drop or strangely even a price hike, but this is Apple so anything is possible.

Will you buy the Shuffle or get the bigger brothers instead?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Google adds high resolution images to Maps and Earth

In a blog post today, Google announced that it was adding more high-resolution images to its Google Earth and Google Maps platforms. The images cover over 30 new cities, from parts of the United States to other countries such as Spain, France, Indian, Saudi Arabia, and many more. The updates images are currently only available for Google Earth, but will be rolled out to Google Maps ‘shortly’.

Google also included new 45-degree images for certain countries such as United States, France, and Spain. The 45-degree images offer an unprecedented level of detail for certain regions, with more cities soon to be added to the fold.

Users can also track if their location gets updated imagery by using the Follow Your World tool.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Leaked video shows rumored new iPhone booting up

While the world waits with bated breath for Apple’s big announcement on September 12, a video has popped up online that supposedly shows the new iPhone booting up alongside an iPhone 4S.

The video shows the new iPhone being compared to the iPhone 4S, and clearly highlights the thinner frame, new dock connector, and other design changes (including the headphone jack moving to the bottom of the phone). The video finally has the two phones ‘booting up’ to demonstrate the speed of the new iPhone. While the odds are high that the device being shown is a fake, it’s certainly one of the better hoaxes we’ve seen in a while.

Check out the video below and stay tuned for Apple’s big announcement next week.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Jumbo Electronics appoints new Chief Executive

Press release: Jumbo Electronics Co Ltd. (LLC) has announced the appointment of Vishesh L. Bhatia as the company’s new Chief Executive. Bhatia moves into his new role after his retirement from a position in the senior leadership team at the Dubai-based Al Futtaim Group where he was lately responsible for a number of its business verticals including electronics, engineering and real estate businesses.

Having worked in Dubai since 1978, the new role marks his second spell with Jumbo Electronics, having been the company’s Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to 2002, working closely with the charismatic Founder of Jumbo, the late M R Chhabria.

A past President of The Electronics Group, Dubai, the trade body representing the wider interests of the industry, Vishesh Bhatia brings with him over three decades of experience in the electronics distribution and retail markets in the UAE and the wider region. More recently he was awarded the accolade of Indian CEO of the Year 2012 (Electronics).
Commenting on the new role, he said, ‘I am indeed honoured to have been invited to lead what is one of the most successful and well-respected electronics trading groups in the Middle East region. I am looking forward to working closely with the Shareholders and Supervisory Board in developing and executing a robust growth strategy for the Jumbo group, while bringing my wide-ranging business experience to drive operational excellence and to position the Jumbo enterprise as an Employer of Choice.’

Vidya Chhabria, Chairperson of Jumbo Electronics, commenting on the appointment said, ‘The expansion of our retail and distribution network is well underway. Consumer electronics in the region is expected to grow at a brisk pace and Jumbo is determined to not only defend its leadership position but to further build on the successes achieved so far. Vishesh Bhatia has an excellent and proven track record of orchestrating change and developing a strategic approach in various lines of businesses’.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Samsung strands bloggers in Berlin for not promoting products

Fresh out of their battle with Apple, Samsung are once again going to make news thanks to some rather unweildly behavior on their part.

A lengthy article published today by The Next Web recounts how two bloggers from India were invited to the IFA conference in Berlin, and were then casually told by Samsung that they were to wear a special Samsung uniform and promote Samsung products to members of the press at the show. Essentially, be booth boys.

This of course, didn’t go down well with the bloggers involved, who had previously clearly stated to Samsung that they would be attending IFA to cover Samsung products as well as other products at the show, and not be doing any kind of product demonstrations. So what did Samsung PR end up doing? According to one of the bloggers Clinton Jeff, Samsung simply stated that the bloggers would have to bear the costs for their hotel, and that their return flights would be cancelled. Having little choice in the matter, the bloggers agreed to attend one of Samsung’s events but refrained from doing any of the aforementioned product demos. But the silver lining to the story is that in the end, Nokia swooped in to rescue the two bloggers by arranging hotel and tickets home so that they could cover the rest of the show.

Read the entire account here and follow Clinton Jeff on Twitter here.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Forget the iPhone 5 – grab the Goophone I5

While there is still plenty of time before Apple officially launched the next iPhone, that’s not stopping a Chinese firm in Hong Kong from putting out its own bizarre hybrid phone, dubbed the Goophone I5.

The Goophone matches most of the design parts that were leaked in recent weeks, including the design of the rear cover. But the knockoff phone bundles with Google’s Android OS instead of iOS, bringing the two giants together in a jade garden of peace and tranquility. That last part might just be in my head btw.

The website doesn’t disclose many technical details about the Goophone, however it does feature a factory tour video with hundreds of workers merrily putting together the Goophone. Probably the best part though is their advert for the phone, which shows it being held up by proud workers as some sort of beacon of justice.

Your move Apple…