T-Mobile UK has at long last published their adaptaion of Google Androids most recent version, aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) available by way of download through the Samsung Kies App. As well as offering lots of new features, version 4.0 of andoid also seems to run faster. T-Mobile will be the very last of all the UK mobile phone networks to offer Galaxy S2 owners this most welcome upgrade, following Vodaphone bringing out their adaptation a week ago.
The British 3 Mobile Phone Company have reported they have published the long awaited Android ICS update (Ice Cream Sandwich) for the Samsung Galaxy SII smart phone. Despite the fact that that this particular operating system upgrade has existed for a while, this is actually the very first UK mobile phone network to release this update, modified for their network for the Galaxy S2. The upgrade ought to be obtainable by way of the Samsung Kies application and will, with a little luck, be on its way to several other UK phone networks within the next couple of months.
It’s probably going to define the next few years of computing. Apple have basically led the way with their “touch-based computing revolution”, and plenty of other brands are releasing similar touchscreen-operated tablets.
You’re probably picturing an iPad right now, with its iconic look and sleek finish. But there are alternatives, some of which are starting to overshadow Apple’s efforts in terms of power, usability and – believe it or not – sheer technological sexiness. Playing Angry Birds while lounging in your recliner sofa has never been so futuristic!
We’ve found the ones we’re most interested in. They aren’t necessarily the most hyped or publicised, but they do boast something a bit special and they’re definitely going to rival the iPad over the next twelve months or so. Watch this space especially carefully towards the end of Summer and on the run-up to the festive season, when every manufacturer will be trying to get that slice of Christmas cake.
The MSI WindPad 110W
Arguably the worst-named tablet PC yet, this ten inch machine runs Windows 7. MSI say in the press release that the WindPad is “the ultimate tablet computer” and that it’s designed with “businesspeople” in mind. Whether MSI will have overcome the practical limitations of a touchscreen in a business environment (which favours the quicker but cumbersome physical keyboard) remains to be seen, but the machine runs on AMD’s Brazos dual core processor and seems to pack enough graphics punch for serious HD files. This could be the the iPad’s Windows nemesis by the time Santa gets your wish list.
The Amazon Tablet
The Kindle’s successor is set to have a colour screen and an uprated processor. Meanwhile, a new player in the tablet market is emerging – the as-yet unnamed Amazon Tablet, baby Kindle’s big cousin. Speculation is of course rife, but the Amazon Tablet is likely to boast a touchscreen and video streaming, and will probably try to occupy the lower-end tablet computing market. Given Amazon’s position as a retail superpower, the Amazon Tablet is likely to be involved with all sorts of schemes with which to entice customers – probably something to do with eBooks, but equally something more adventurous involving the fabled video streaming system rumoured to be making an appearance.
There’s definitely a trend for this sort of name – two words condensed into one, each with its own capital letter. The TouchPad uses HP’s webOS, which looks very snazzy but lacks the pervasive ecosystem of the iOS. We’re not sure what HP are trying to do with this one. It has basically the same specifications as the iPad, except without the rear-facing camera or the iconic look. It’s a bit bigger as well, not to mention heavier and with a bigger battery. And there are fewer apps available – at the moment – for webOS. This would all be okay if it was being sold for considerably less than the iPad, but it’s hitting the shops at around the same price. It’ll be interesting to see whether the TouchPad makes any inroads.
Sony’s Android Tablets
The most striking feature of Sony’s first new tablet, the S1, is the shape. It looks like Sony has decided upon a sort of thin wedge, which apparently makes the machine more ergonomically pleasing. It’ll probably be quite useful if you want to use it on a flat surface as well, but we don’t know that yet because all we’ve really seen is conjecture and a short video. The second tablet, the S2, is a clamshell handheld device with two 5.5 inch screens. The idea behind the two screens is versatility, with users able to watch something on both screens or use them for different operations concurrently. Both the S1 and the S2 run Android 3.0 and have WiFi, 3G and 4G connectivity.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
It looks like Apple is terrified of Samsung’s tablet range. A recent lawsuit by Apple amounted to a strongly worded tantrum, accusing Samsung of copying Apple’s technology and indeed being the most prolific stealer of their ideas. Apple demanded that Samsung reveal all their prototypes, and Samsung retorted that Apple should show all theirs. Apple say that this amounts to harassment. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has much better specifications than the iPad, and looks a bit nicer too. It’s certainly smaller and has a sleeker chassis. The dual core processor and 1GB of RAM makes it run more like a real computer than a handheld device, and the cameras are both more powerful than those of the iPad. What’s more, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is going to cost about as much as an iPad. Watch this space, and expect further protestations from Apple as Samsung take a bite of the market.
As 2011 beds down this year`s new camera models are launching. Take the Nikon COOLPIX P7000. It has that sleek, black style we associate with Nikon. It can do as much that a SLR camera could do, including a wide-angle 7.1x zoom lens, a generous 3 inches of LCD screen and high definition movie recording. It seems like yesterday that this was the stuff of Science fiction. That wide-angle NIKKOR lens goes from 28 mm to 200 mm with the best in optical Vibration Reduction built in. Nikon`s state of the art image processing system makes for powerful, fast and detailed pictures. This is a good buy for enthusiasts who enjoy the abilities of Nikon DSLR but want the ease of a compact with a mid range price tag.
Olympus has another medium priced compact on offer, the Olympus E-PL2. This is being marketed as `fuss free` photography with high quality imaging. Like the Nikon COOLPIX P7000 this is a mirror-less camera that offers DSLR quality. This is achieved by a chip that is way above average size for a standard compact. Users will find the model lightweight, easy to use, with excellent definition. The more expert photographer will be pleased to hear Olympus now have 16 Micro Four Thirds lenses plus another three conversion lenses. Furthermore the previous Four Thirds DSLR optics is attachable by an optional adapter ring. This has significantly increased the number of changeable lens, which may make investing in Olympus more tempting.
Meanwhile, at the inexpensive end of the market Kodak has released their EasyShare M550. This simple, brushed metal model offers 2.3 mega pixels, a 2.7-inch LCD and a button to share your pics with your online community. A handy little gimmick for the Facebook generation. The camera`s strengths must be its ease of use and automatic shooting. The `smart capture` function identifies and adapts to common shooting environments, (portrait, landscape, bright light, low light etcetera). Face-recognition is one of its major selling points and users can tag up to 20 people.
Another of the big players, Panasonic, has brought out the new Lumix FS33. This nifty little camera has a touch-screen 3 inches wide. The lens is wide-angle 8x optical zoom, backed up with a 14.1 mega pixel sensor, optical image stabilisation and high definition video capability. If the appearance of your snapper is important you might like the choice of bodies, in stylish black, red or silver.
At the top end of the market comes another Canon design, the PowerShot G12 . In a nutshell this for experienced photographers looking for DSLR mode inside a compact model. The menu of features incorporates mega pixel CCD sensor, optical viewfinder, RAW image capture, 2.8 inch LCD screen, 5x, 28-140 mm equivalent zoom lens, flash hot shoe and a full compliment of manual shooting modes. If that is not enough to wet your appetite it has HD video recording, hybrid image stabilisation system, multi-aspect shooting and High Dynamic Range mode.
One increasingly essential feature is the convenience of uploading shots onto desktop computers. These models come with USB cables and software enabling fast transfers and great post-production options.