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Archive | December 20, 2010

ExoPC slate available for pre-order at Microsoft Store

The famous EXOPC slate is now available for pre-order at Microsoft Store for $699. For this price you’ll get a Windows 7 Premium running tablet PC with an 11.6 inches 1366 x 768 LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, Broadcom Crystal HD chip for 1080p hardware accelerated goodness, 2GB RAM, 64GB solid slate storage, 802.11b/g/n connectivity and 64-bit Intel Atom Pineview processor. Also, a mini HDMI output and 1.3MP front facing camera for those Skype teleconferences.

The tablet is thin at 0.5 inches and fairly light (2 pounds)  considering the screen size. The battery life will be around 4 hours.

One particular aspect of this tablet is that it was recently hacked to run Android v2.2 (Froyo) in a dual boot configuration. This way, you’ll have the advantage of both worlds and you can use a mobile OS for quick tasks while booting up in Windows 7 Premium for more serious work.

NavFree live in App Store – offers free offline navigation

The first offline navigation tool to be offered free on iOS in its 1.76 GB download glory just popped up in Apple’s App Store and it is certainly an easy download (easy to start at least).

Launched initially in UK and Ireland, NavFree brings you address and point of interest searching, full voiced turn by turn directions and automatically rerouting without eating further in those precious megabytes from your probably not unlimited data plan, offering a functionality found until now in applications costing upwards of $20.

Another useful feature is user corrected maps. You have a special menu (see the gallery) to report a map error and presumably the company will take steps to correct it as soon as several reports will accumulate. Even better, if you want to listen to music while driving, you can easily access your music collection straight from the NavFree’s user interface.

How do they do it? With prices for navigation applications going down lately, they hope to entice you to buy add-ons like traffic and speed camera positions. Available free on iTunes now.

See more screenshots and read the full Press Release after the break.

Read More…

HostGator review – Baby Shared plan and maximum visitors per day

I waited for quite a while  in writing this review because I needed to have a good idea about what I writing about. If you perform a quick Google search for reviews about one hosting company or another, you’ll find thousands of them, mostly from people that never used them but they are trying to sell you a hosting plan.

Personally, I won’t be able to directly compare the hosting plans but I can share my experiences with three companies: iPowerWeb that I used for many years for some personal websites but stopped using them sometime in 2009, iPage that I used for a briefly period between the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 and HostGator that I am currently using. Again, I won’t be able to talk about any other hosting company but this review should help you in making an informed decision if you are looking on any one of the three mentioned and especially HostGator which is the subject of the current article. Read More…

Best Buy puts an end to restocking fees

Remember those nasty 15% that Best Buy used to charge? No more!

Best Buy just announced that starting this week, they’ll stop charging restocking fees for all items except special orders. The company will also refund any restocking fees charged for returned orders placed after November 17th.

While this is certainly good news, we should note that best Buy doesn’t do this out of the goodness of their heart but, because the market pressures them to do it. For the quarter ending on Nov. 27, Best Buy posted lower profits than in the same period last year due to weaker than expected sales of TV, computers, etc, and obviously increased competition from online stores as the giant Amazon.

Verizon Wireless will show Android LTE devices at CES 2011

Awaited by many, confirmed by Verizon on Twitter, the first LTE Android smartphones are coming and they’ll be initially displayed at CES show early next year, Verizon Wireless just posted.

We don’t know yet how they’ll look like, any technical specs or how many models will be initially released but we’ll let you know as soon as we’ll find out.

Sam’s Club members can get iPhone 4 for $147 until Christmas

We all know how hard is to get any iOS devices at a discount, thanks to the draconian measures imposed by Apple. Well, it seems that at least one chain can get away with it, none other than Sam’s Club.

Available until Christmas day, the new deal means you can get an iPhone 4 for $147 and a 3GS for $47 if you are ready so sign up a new 2 year contract.

The discount is interesting, specifically because it comes from Sam’s Club. If you remember, several days ago we announced that Costco will stop selling Apple products due to many restrictions Apple impose, including the restriction to sell Apple’s devices online or discounted. It seems the friendship with Sam’s Club runs much deeper.

via SlashGear

XBMC 10.0 code Dharma launched, supports Apple TV and DXVA2 acceleration

With the current flurry of dedicated media streamers, some stopped using a Home Theater PC as central HUB for all their media needs. however, while a PC eats more electricity and also tends to be noisier, it is hard to argue with the degree of tweaking a PC is capable of, and the codec support is second to none.

Now, one of the most popular and venerable Media Center applications, XBMC is launched in a special version, 10.0 codename Dharma. As expected, the new version brings a large set of improvements along with Apple TV (the old one) support. Among the most important additions are accessing new skins without leaving the application, a new add-ons system, improved codec compatibility (new WebM / VP8 added), DXVA2 hardware acceleration (neat!!!) added in Vista and Windows 7 anf CrystalHD in OSX and Linux. Check XBMC changelog for the full list.

The new version can also be controlled by remote control apps on iPhone and Android smartphones and is available free of charge on many platforms. Give it a try and you’ll be impressed.

New Google TV devices delayed until software is better

Google TV devices suffered a rocky start with poor initial Netflix support (see our full Sony Google TV Review) and even worse support from various content providers that, one after another blocked Google TV from accessing their online content. Combined with a cost higher than average and the lack of video CODEC support for popular formats as DIVX and MKV, the Google TV based devices don’t sell.

This situation apparently prompted Google to ask their partners as LG, Sharp and Toshiba to not show their new boxes at the upcoming CES show and only VIZIO and Samsung will have something to display.

Next year the situation should be completely different, especially if Android Market gets supported and new applications (and games) start popping up (Angry Birds on TV? 🙂 ). However, having apps on your TV is nothing new and if Google doesn’t do anything in the direction of more content by signing some deals with the content providers, and also improving the way they treat local content, the box will fail next year again. It is really the time for a Jack of all trades box because my Home Theater rack is getting cluttered by the various media streamer boxes that always over promise and under deliver.

Meantime, Hiroshi Yoshioka, chief of Sony’s TV division told New York Times that Sony’s Google TV sales are “in line with Read More…