Well, what do you know? After many months of waiting and delays, Samsung Blu-ray players – 2010 models (and that also means non 3D ones) got a new firmware update – I downloaded it immediately on my BD-C7500 player and after installing it I surfed to the Samsung App store – much to my surprise, I saw a brand new Hulu Plus Application, available until now only on Samsung’s flagship 2010 models with 3D capabilities. After I played with it for a while, I have to report it features the same interface as any other Hulu Plus compatible device, it runs quite nice and it is much more responsive than its Roku equivalent. In terms of streaming performance, I prefer more my Samsung connected Blu-ray player than my Roku box which is just too slow. Of course, Roku 2 boxes are around the corned, scheduled to release very soon and they might come with a faster processor, but until then, my Netflix / Hulu Plus enabled Samsung BD-C7500 rocks. Read More…
Tethering through your smartphone works for you? Then save some money and skip the 3G/4G Galaxy Tab 10.1 version and get the WiFi only model. Starting on July 24th, you can pick the cheap WiFi + 16GB basic Galaxy Tab 10.1 model for around $500, no plan required (of course, Sprint will love to sign up with them and buy the MiFi router in the process), but if you already have a smartphone with a healthy data plan, don’t bother. If money is no object, wait a tad longer and get the 4G LTE version from Verizon later in the summer.
If you are still undecided as of which tablet to buy, check out our top 10 tablets article. iPad 2 is still the tablet to buy, not necessarily because of the hardware but because it still has the most tablet optimized apps by far. If you hate all things Apple though (I have a friend that does), Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the next best thing. Better hardware, thinner, lighter than iPad 2, the new tablet from Samsung is the best Android tablet to date, and that is no small thing considering how diverse the Android market has become.
Check after the break for Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 full technical specs. Read More…
After a buggy update process bricked a number of Samsung Focus and Omnia 7 Windows Phone 7 phones, Microsoft was quick to stop it until it looked for ways to fix it. Apparently it succeeded so the update is available again.
While the update issue only happened in extreme cases, like no more room on the hard-drive or a crappy internet connection that failed in the middle of the upgrade, it affected somewhere toward 10 percent of the total WP7 Samsung phone owners, so it is more than a little bit surprising Microsoft QA team didn’t catch the issue before. Most of the tests are performed exactly in extreme conditions, so low space of bad connection cases should be part of any reasonable test plan.
Well, whatever the problem is, it is now fixed and Microsoft resumed the update. If you have one of the affected models, you should be able to get the upgrade now. Be sure it works, because it prepares the field for the next, more important update called NoDo Read More…
If you need any more convincing an App store is the way to go for a company, search no more. Every company creating an app store has been successful, including Samsung. Not too long ago we reviewed Samsung BD-7500 Blu-ray player and the applications that ship / are available for download and we had a rather good impression. Now, Samsung announces that the number of applications downloaded from their store reached a cool 1 million and while this doesn’t really compare with iPhone App Store for example, it is impressive nonetheless.
Samsung App Store launched in March 2010 and the Samsung Apps are available on their 2010 models for Blu-ray Players and certain TV sets. Among the most notable examples we can find Netflix, Vudu, Google Maps, AccuWeather, Blockbuster, USA Today, YouTube, Pandora, Picasa, Games, etc, over 200 in total. Most are free, for some you’ll have to pay.
Currently, various manufacturers are using App stores to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, when everybody will have an App store, expect to see some deals signed and who know, maybe we’ll see Samsung App Store implemented on Roku media players, or any such combination.
Samsung Apps are built on a SDK Platform created around open standards including XML, Java Script, Adobe Flash Lite 3.0, etc. Eventually, Samsung App store will provide applications for all their platforms including smartphones.
Without a doubt, Samsung BD-C7500 looks really nice. Described as the world’s slimmest Blu-ray player BD-C7500 brings not only good looks in the equation but also a large set of media streaming features, a fast boot time and a plethora of web clients thanks to Samsung Apps store, the first store by my knowledge to offer applications to run on both TV and media streaming boxes / Blu-ray players. Let’s not forget that Apple TV doesn’t support applications and Google TV’s Android Marketplace compatibility will only arrive next year.
While Blu-ray capabilities of today’s players are fairly good and I doubt many of us could perceive differences in the output quality, especially on a HDMI connection, the media streaming and web clients implementation differ wildly, and this is what makes the subject of today’s review. The screenshot and observations should apply to all Samsung 2010 Blu-ray players and connected TVs implementing Samsung Apps. Most of the Samsung TVs released in 2010 support Samsung Apps and all of Samsung’s new Blu-ray players including BD-C8000, BD-C7900, BD-C6900, BD-C6800, BD-C5900, BD-C7500, BD-C6500 and BD-C5500.
2. Samsung BD-C7500 Unpacking and Design
We got all sorts of price ranges from Europe but nothing for good old USA so it is understandable that we were waiting to see when, where and how much. Today, Verizon Wireless dropped the bomb and announced that it will start selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab for $599 on November 11th. Unfortunately there is no discount if you buy a data plan so you might try a combination like smart phone – Galaxy tab or just wait for things to change. Verizon currently offers 1GB / month for $20 which might or might not be enough considering that we are talking about a tablet here which will be able to stream movies.
Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch multi-touch screen device with 1024×600 resolution, full support for Adobe Flash 10.1 (unlike Apple iPad), dual camera (front and back), full 1080p movie player, 1GHz CPU and running Android 2.2. Among the pre-installed software packages you will be able to find Kindle for Android and Google Maps navigation.
Which format works best for you? The 7-inches Galaxy Tab or the larger Apple iPad?
In an interesting effort to customize the Galaxy Tab’s UI for Romania (Eastern Europe), Samsung involuntary provided us with a joke: A Porn icon. No, the icon doesn’t start playing an X-rated movie, nor does it make the phone vibrate. Porn is the (incorrect) abbreviation for “Porneste” or “Pornire” which means “Turn On” in Romanian. Why they did not use “Start” is beyond me since the Romanian word is exactly the same.
As a Romanian speaker, I also found some other funny translation examples: “Player muzical” is supposed to be “Music Player” but Samsung only translated one of the words. The word “Player” doesn not exist in Romanian dictionary. The word “Nota” is the Romanian translation for “Notes” but it is incorrectly translated as singular instead of plural. To be honest, quite a large percent of Romanian population speaks English at a reasonable level and could have provided a decent translation, but it looks that Samsung has chosen the cheapest (free) route of Google translation :).
What is even more entertaining is that “Porn” in Romanian is also the (correct) abbreviation for the word “Porno” which in English means: you guessed: Exactly “Porn”. I wonder if the sets will command a price premium from the Romanian customers.
If you can read Romanian you can check the original article here.
Today, during the closing keynote at the IFA convention in Germany, Google’s Eric Schmidt announced that Google TV is set to launch this fall in US and expand everwhere else in 2011. According to Eric, all the content will be provided by…content providers as Google doesn’t want to go into content production. After all, Google was always better at organizing somebody’s else stuff. A number of hardware manufacturers expressed their interest in creating Google TV hardware, such as Logitech with their Revue box, Dish Network with their $300 device, and more recently, Samsung announcing that it is considering Android OS for their TVs. This might bring an embedded Google TV system in Samsung’s TV line but it might also put the final nail in the coffin of Yahoo TV Widgets, at least as Samsung is concerned.
Heavily rumored for the past several weeks and widely expected, Hulu just announced the launching of a new premium tier for $9.99 a month. The new premium plan will allow subscribers access to an entire TV season. The free tier will also be still available.
Hulu Plus will initially be available on Apple’s iPad and iPhone as well as XBOX 360 (early 2011), Samsung TV and Blu-ray players and Sony PS3, TV and Blu-ray players and Vizio. Initially the service will be rolled out based on invitations.
Check after the break for additional images / video. Read More…
One of my earlier posts was a review for LG 60PS80 connected TV. Purchased specifically for its connected capabilities, I complained that, while the TV supports Yahoo TV Widgets, it didn’t receive any software update in more than a year. I will try to analyze why this happened and if there is a signal that the TV manufacturers just are not interested enough in the Yahoo TV Widget platform.
Designed specifically for TV, Yahoo TV Widget platform evolved from Konfabulator® (KON) widget platform for the PC, with specific customizations to make it work properly on the TV screens and other consumer electronic devices. Yahoo makes and distributes a Widget Development Kit (WDK) and recently opened their developer forums to a larger audience.