The Flyer isn’t part of the pack of tablets running the latest version of Google’s Android software, 3.0 Honeycomb. Instead, HTC has slapped its Sense custom user interface, seen on the company’s smart phones, over the top of Android 2.4 Gingerbread.
For those keeping track of version numbers, Android 2.4 and Android 2.3 are both known as ‘Gingerbread’, since these two versions of the operating system are almost identical. Android 3.0 Honeycomb is a version specifically designed for tablets, rather than for smart phones.
Sticking to the older version of Android has given HTC the time to customise the interface significantly. We haven’t seen the Flyer’s user interface in action yet, but HTC told us that it’s tweaked all of its apps to take advantage of the tablet’s extra screen space. For example, the email app will have two panels, showing your inbox and an email at the same time.
HTC is one of the only companies that’s done a great job of skinning Android. Its Sense user interface has been making geeky phone software better-looking and easier to use ever since it first appeared on the Hero. Consequently, we’re cautiously optimistic about HTC’s software efforts on the Flyer. We also loved the Samsung Galaxy Tab, even though it only ran Android 2.2, so there’s hope for the Flyer too.
But — and this is a big but — the Galaxy Tab came out about five months ago, before Honeycomb was even out. At the time, we were thrilled to embrace a more pocket-friendly, Android alternative to the iPad. But even Google has said that Android wasn’t well suited to tablets before Honeycomb emerged. Even if HTC’s Sense skin overcomes the fact that Android 2.4 isn’t optimised for tablets, we think it’ll be hard for any self-respecting geek to break the piggy bank open for a gadget that’s not cutting-edge.
You may disagree, though. After all, HTC has proven with its phones that it can do a great job of designing a user interface. You may not particularly care which version of Android your tablet runs either. Also, HTC has promised that the Flyer will get an update to Honeycomb eventually.
Being stuck on Gingerbread doesn’t mean the Flyer is likely to miss out on many features. You’ll still have access to the Android Market, which is full of apps and games to install on your robot friend. Android apps tend to be less elegant than the apps available for the iPad, and there are fewer of them. But, on the plus side, some of them offer wilder features — like augmented reality — and they tend to be very cheap or even free.
The Android browser is also a treat, because it renders Web pages quickly and accurately. It supports Flash Player too, which means you won’t miss out on online videos, and you won’t have to rely on the separate YouTube app. Even if you have no interest in the latest cute cat videos from Japan, having Flash support in the browser is fantastic just for moving around the many sites that use it for menus and navigation.
One thing we don’t know is how the Flyer’s 1.4GHz, single-core processor will stack up against the 1GHz, dual-core chip of the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Stay tuned for some benchmark results as soon as we get these beauties into the lab.
Marquise Flixxx - Madness (ADULT SWIM EXCLUSIVE)
A Playstation phone has been the desire of many ever since Sony and Ericsson combined forces back in 2001. Soon after the merger, the Sony Cybershot brand was given to the Sony Ericsson range of camera phones, but despite the wishes of many, the Playstation phone never came. In recent times, the fortunes of Sony Ericsson within the industry haven’t always been positive, but the release of handsets running the Android OS has breathed a new lease of life into the brand, and now at long last we have the fabled Playstation phone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play.
Weighing 175g, the Xperia Play measures in at 119 x 62 x 16mm, and boasts a large, 4.0 inch LED backlit capacitive touchscreen, supporting up to 16 million colours and with a pixel resolution of 480 x 854. The device has a slide out keypad, which houses the gaming control buttons, with a directional keypad for moving characters within games on the left, and the familiar Playstation Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross buttons on the right. There is a touch sensitive pad in between the two control pads, which works much the same way as the touchpad on a laptop.
Soon after launch the Xperia Play will have close to 50 titles available, giving gamers a wide choice of games to choose from. In use the Xperia Play is surprisingly good, with capable graphic presentation and no noticeable lag in game play. The handset has auto rotate facility, which automatically rotates the display to landscape orientation when the control pad is slid out from the phone. There is a proximity sensor for auto turn off when in call, and the display supports multi touch input. Allowing game developers to incorporate an element of touchscreen input for titles released onto the Xperia Play.
Aside from the main focus on the gaming capabilities of the handset, the Xperia Play in its own right is a more than capable all round smartphone. The handset is equipped with a decent quality 5.0 Megapixel camera, with autofocus and LED flash. Touch focus support is included, as is image stablisation, to eliminate those annoying blurred shots. Geotagging is also included, allowing you to capture the location details of pictures caught on the handsets camera, which can be shared with friends when the photos are uploaded online. Video recording is also enabled on the handset, and there is a second camera on the front of the device, for video calling purposes.
Connectivity is a big part of the Xperia Play, and all the main technologies are included, with support for HSPA Mobile Broadband, along with GPRS, EDGE and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA support, making it a breeze to integrate the device and share media with other compatible equipment across your home WLAN. Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP is included for local connectivity, and there is a v2.0 Micro USB connector.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play will ship with the latest version of Android OS, Android 2.3, and is powered by a 1 GHz processor along with an Adreno 205 GPU. There is plenty of memory available on board, with 400 MB on the device, which can be expanded up to 32 GB with Micro SD memory cards. An 8 GB card is supplied by Sony Ericsson in the box.
The media player on the Play is well featured, with support for all the usual digital file formats, and the device also includes the excellent Track ID feature, one of our favourite options on Sony Ericsson handsets. Track ID allows you to scan elements of a song, which is then uploaded to the Sony Ericsson server, to determine the name of the tune, the artist and album. A 3.5mm audio jack is included, plus the device has built in stereo speakers, which give good sound play when listening to music and playing games.
Now all iMac models come standard with Intel Core processors built on a new architecture. Based on Intel's 32-nanometer process technology, these processors set new benchmarks for iMac performance.The available quad-core Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor in the 27-inch iMac puts four processing cores on one die, so data doesn't have to travel far to get from core to core.Many iMac models now benefit from Turbo Boost technology built into the Intel Core series processors. If you're using a processor-intensive application such as Aperture 3 or Final Cut Pro that benefits from extra performance, Turbo Boost dynamically increases the speed of available cores.Every iMac includes powerful discrete graphics, meaning the graphics processor is separate from the CPU. So whether you're an amateur filmmaker or an avid gamer, iMac gives you faster, smoother, crisper graphics no matter which model you choose.The 21.5-inch iMac offers fast graphics performance with either the ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB of dedicated memory or the ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB of memory. Which one is right for you? The greater the memory, the faster the performance for graphics-intensive applications such as games and video editors.When you step up to the 27-inch iMac, you can choose the ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB of memory. Or enjoy amazing performance with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. You'll notice the speed boost every time you run your favorite 3D applications and games.Games scream on iMac, thanks to advanced ATI graphics. The discrete ATI Radeon HD 4670 processor delivers faster performance compared to the integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M processor in the previous-generation iMac. That'll keep you on your game, even inside the complex 3D environments of Call of Duty 4 or EVE. For faster graphics performance, choose an iMac with the ATI Radeon HD 5670 or ATI Radeon HD 5750.
PaperShow combines a special pen and special paper with a computer screen. What you write on the paper appears on the screen and then what you write on the screen can be printed out on more paper. SkyFi is a Wireless Telescope Controller that when combined with the SkyVoyager iPhone app, will give astronomy geeks the ability to control a GoTo telescope from an iPhone. The U-Socket AC/USB power outlet from Fastmac picked up a Best of Show prize. We've already talked about the outlets on the Brief. They're still waiting on UL approval, but are available for pre-order. The Autopark iPhone App helps you with all aspects of parking, from finding your car, to reminding you that your meter is about to expire. Microvision announced the ShowWX Laser Pico Projector. It's always in focus, no matter how close or far from the surface it's projecting on. Kanex has an HDMI to Mini DisplayPort adapter that lets you connect HD sources. Smoothbassman Productions used my discount code, GEEK, to save 12% at SquareSpace****.
If you do most of your work on a laptop, but do a lot of it at a desk, you know that there can be a lot of hassle involved with plugging stuff in. The Kanex DualRole Ethernet USB hub comes to the rescue, giving you three USB 3.0 ports, and a port for connection to a Gigabit Ethernet network. It does exactly what you want - it works.
Kanex DualRole Hub on Amazon - *******amzn.to/1gFt8av
With more and more devices, having one keyboard that can talk to all of them is a real plus. The Kanex Multi-Sync Keyboard can connect to three Bluetooth devices wirelessly, and can have a wired connection to a USB device. That's four devices you can run from a single keyboard! And the simpleDock is a great way to combine efforts as well: It's a 3-port USB hub, connects fast Ethernet, and works as a charging valet. The keyboard is $69 and the sImpleDock is $119.
Main Marry Jane - Marquise Flixxx
Off Tha Wall Entertainment