Archive | July, 2011

Logitech Revue Google TV now on sale for only $99


Google TV has its own share of missteps including lack of content rights, initial high price, etc. As a result, the sales were abysmal, at least compared with the expectations. It looks like Logitech finally figured it out that at least, if you can’t compete on the features, try slashing the price and starting today, Logitech Revue Google TV will sell for only $99. This price is a far cry from the initial $249, but at least Logitech has now the chance to move some boxes. If you don’t know too much about Google TV, check out our Sony Google TV Review.

The new price is even better considering that soon all Google TV devices will be upgraded to Android Honeycomb and it’ll also get a market. You can have all your apps working on the large screen, including games. Also, Logitech Revue has its own dedicated application to access media from your network shares / USB / DLNA making local content a non issue. Some other interesting features I personally love are the HDMI overlay all Google TV’s are capable of,  the Picture in Picture (PIP) capability over a live TV show and the full screen browser.

The new price is not yet updated with Logitech main site still showing $249 but  the change is expected soon. Based on Logitech’s recent press release, the change was prompted specifically by the weak sales in the Digital Home category. Yeah, we know, Roku 2 / Apple TV / Boxee Box and WD TV Live all much cheaper than the $249 Revue surely had something to do with Logitech’s crappy sales.

“While Logitech is making progress in improving operations in the Company’s EMEA sales region, the Q1 performance reflects sustained weakness in the region. The Company also experienced minimal sales growth in its Americas region, primarily due to very weak sales in the Digital Home category. Logitech’s loss in Q1 was compounded by the significant impact of the decision to reduce the price of Logitech Revue from $249 to $99 during Q2. The action was taken with the goal of accelerating adoption of the Google TV platform by removing price as a barrier to broad consumer acceptance.”

 

Roku 2 XS Review (3100X model)


Yesterday I had the pleasant surprise to find a package in front of my door – the new Roku 2 3100X has arrived. I unpacked it immediately so I can put it to the test – here is the Roku 2 XS review summing my impressions. I also own the previous Roku (review here)  box for more than a year, so I knew what to expect. I knew the software would be similar, so I was mainly interested in the new box responsivity and of course, the new gaming platform Roku just launched.
A bit of history on the side – Roku was the first company to release a dedicated streaming box and they are now at the 3rd generation. While weak for local content, they have arguably the lagest selection of streaming choices with content from Netflix to Vimeo and UFC to FoxNews. Private channels can be added as well to support Plex, YouTube, PlayOn, etc.

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Read More…

Apple kills every iOS eBook store but their own – first victims Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo

History: A while ago Apple changed their App Store terms of service in order to force their 30 percent cut for not only applications bought through their store, but for everything bought through an application available in the App Store. As a direct result, Apple is forcing every eBook store including Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Kobo reader, etc to pay an initial 30 percent cut for every sale generated, just for the honor of being published in heir app store basically killing the market. Why? Because nobody has enough margins selling book to pay 30 percent to Apple and still making any profit.

The anti-competitiveness of this measure is appalling especially in a business where Apple is Read More…

How to unbrick / restore / reset Nook Touch (N2E) to its default factory state

I had a number of requests for tutorial  Nook Touch describing how to restore a rooted nook Touch to its factory default state. I’ll describe a number of methods to be used based on the gravity of the issue. If the Nook Touch still works well, you might need the quick procedure. If it is bricked, you probably need to take the more drastic measures including a complete firmware re-flash. Let’s proceed!

Note: this article, at least for the firmware re-flash part requires you to be familiar with this procedure. If you rooted your device, you probably are. However, a quick read into our initial How to root Nook Touch article might help.

Restore Nook Touch Method 1: interrupt the booting process 8 times

Step 1: Power off the Nook Touch.

Step 2: Power it on again. Read More…

Netflix 1.3 update for Android – now supports 24 devices including Samsung Galaxy S

Another day, another Netflix version for Android, this time increasing the number of supported Android devices to a whooping 24 devices in version 1.3. Among the most notable newcomers are HTC Droid Incredible 2, Droid 3, Samsung Galaxy S. Here is the full list:

Nook Color is still not mentioned, but we know better! Check out our article in how to run Netflix on Nook Color. You can download the new Netflix 1.3 apk (file name com.netflix.mediaclient_246.apk) in here.

• Casio G’zOne Commando C771 with Android 2.2
• HTC Droid Incredible
• HTC Droid Incredible 2
• HTC EVO
• HTC EVO 3D
• HTC G2
• HTC Thunderbolt
• Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet
• LG Revolution
• Motorola Atrix
• Motorola Droid
• Motorola Droid X
• Motorola Droid X2
• Motorola Droid 2
• Motorola Droid 3
• Samsung Droid Charge
• Samsung Epic 4G
• Samsung Galaxy S
• Samsung Galaxy S 4G
• Samsung Fascinate
• Samsung Nexus S
• Samsung Nexus S 4G

Amazon Prime / Video on Demand gets access to 2,000 CBS episodes

While the number certainly feels larger than it actually is, especially if we are talking about 100+ episodes TV shows, the deal is nonetheless important to help establish Amazon VoD as a large player in the media streaming business where the market is dominated by Netflix and Hulu Plus. What is even better is that those with Amazon Prime will access all this new content for no additional charge, which is another welcome news. The new shows will be available this summer to Amazon Instant Video customers raising the total of movies and TV shows at just over 6,000.

Amazon’s streaming service (review here)  is currently the cheapest available. It is practically free for Amazon Prime customers and students can have both Amazon prime and streaming service for 50% off, for a total of $39 a year. Beside unlimited streaming, it also includes free 2 days shipping for any products shipped from Amazon’s warehouses, no price limit attached. The service is available on a number of streaming boxes including Roku players or just by using your PC.

via Market Watch

Google Directory discontinued

This is big – in an effort to push everybody toward direct search – via their own engine, of course, Google quietly discontinues their long standing Google Directory powered by DMOZ. No other explanation given, just a link pointing toward DMOZ  – ODP (Open Directory Project) for those still interested to search new websites via a directory.

As you might know, Google was using the info for DMOZ – a group sponsored by AOL Search accused by some of controversial editing practices to power their Google Directory database. It is unknown what pushed Google to finally discontinue the project, it might be simply because there are fewer and fewer people using directories or there is a scandal in the making. Whatever it is,it won’t have any significant impact over Google’s Search engine performance.

Does Google’s decision impact you? Share your opinions on this issue.

via Google Directory

Galaxy S II finally comes in US in August

After thousands of articles and conspiracy theories trying to figure out why the hugely successful (in Europe and Asia) Samsung Galaxy S II doesn’t make it in US faster, we have some official comments – from Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung’s mobile division. While he didn’t go into any details, he expressed expectations for an official August release in the US. We know there are intense discussions with the main networks in US and we have also seen the leaked Attain (the code name Galaxy S II is rumored to come via AT&T – see the photo) but we still don’t know why the delay (iPhone 5, each side trying to squeeze a better price, etc).

Selling 3 million units in less than 2 months, Galaxy S II is seen as a direct competitor to the upcoming iPhone 5. Impossible thin, light at only116 grams (4.09 ounces), featuring a 1.2GHz dual core CPU beast and an amazing 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, Samsung Galaxy S II is certainly one of the best Android smartphones to date.

Technical specs:

Size: 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm Read More…

Roku 2 to ship by the end of July – gets Angry Birds, waving remote and new channels

Thanks to the FCC leaks, we all knew Roku 2 is coming, but we weren’t sure about its capabilities. Today, Roku made Roku 2 official and here are the details: There are still three models similar with the previous product line called Roku 2 HD for $59 that still keeps the same 720p HD limit (it is 2011, Roku, why to you have to artificially add this limit?), Roku 2 XD selling for $79 that upgrades the resolution to the max 1080p and ultimately, Roku 2 XS selling at $99 price point and adds Ethernet and USB ports.

Beside streaming media, Roku figured out the consumer also want some gaming capabilities ($5 range), so they included a 3D capable GPU that should enable some decent gaming, including Angry Birds available at launch (free if you buy Roku 2 XS). There is also a new Bluetooth remote  – Wii style announced that should enable users to interact in a modern way with their new toy. It does come with a hand wrist strap so you won’t put your TV in danger.

While all the models have Bluetooth capability, only the most expensive Roku 2 XS will include the remote in the box, for the other models it is an Read More…

Airplane crash on runway avoided in the last second – Otopeni Airport, Romania

Not exactly gadget related, but interesting nonetheless. About a week ago, a tragedy almost happened at Otopeni Airport, Bucharest, Romania. Apparently, a traffic controller gave a landing green-light to an airplane (ROT382 coming from Paris and carrying 200 passengers ) belonging to the Romanian company TAROM on the same runway where an airplane belonging to the Greek company Aegean was preparing to take off.  A horrible disaster was prevented by the quick thinking of the Romanian pilot who was able to lift the plane at the last moment.

What exactly has happened is not known for sure, but the officials blame the potential catastrophe on a miscommunication between the control tower and the Aegean airplane which didn’t stop in the designated position before proceeding onto the runway. Check a video simulation after the break also containing the control tower recorded exchanges, especially the “Aoleu” – Romanian equivalent of “Oh My God!” or “Holly Cow” at 1:24. The red plane is the Aegean, the blue is the TAROM airplane. Read More…