On April 2 Amazon unveiled their latest foray into the hardware space. After making ebooks and tablets the online retailer is directly competing with Apple TV and Roku with their very own media streamer called Amazon Fire TV. The $99 box comes packed with myriad subscription-based and streaming services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and of course Amazon Instant Video with Prime benefits to Amazon’s catalog of exclusive content.
There really are three things that set the Fire TV apart from the competition. First is its raw power. The box is powered by a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, 2GB of RAM, and it supports 1080p video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. The company is claiming it has 3x the processing power and 4x the memory of Apple TV and Roku. These specs allow for a fast and fluid experience navigating the UI and media playback. Such generous guts support Amazon’s anti-buffering initiative they’re calling ASAP, or Advanced Streaming and Prediction; instead of waiting 10+ seconds for a video to buffer and stream, the Fire TV will smartly predict the movies and shows you will watch and get them ready for streaming so when you hit play it will immediately begin playback. More specs: ’round back you’ll find a port for power, HDMI, optical audio, Ethernet, and USB. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also inside.
Amazon’s Fire TV also supports voice search. The included media remote sports a mic that listens to your audible search queries. Simply tap the voice button and speak into the remote to instantly search TV shows, movies, actors, directors, and genres. Of course, an on-screen keyboard is provided in case the software can’t pick up on what you’re saying for whatever reason. Note that the remote is paired to the streamer via Bluetooth so direct line-of-sight for control is not necessary.
Additionally, the box is being billed as a gaming machine. Does it compete with heavy hitters like the Xbox One and PS4–no way, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fight to become an affordable way to access easy-to-pickup titles like world-builder Minecraft and racer Asphalt. In fact, Amazon is so dedicated to making Fire TV a gaming destination that it is also selling a separately sold Amazon Fire Game Controller for $39.99 that is very reminiscent of Xbox’s pad featuring dual analog sticks, a d-pad, and ABXY buttons, as well as media controls. And on top of that, the company has formed Amazon Game Studios to develop games exclusively for the Fire TV such as third-person sci-fi shooter Sev Zero. Press the GameCircle button the Game Controller to view leaderboards and achievements across the Internet. Many games are offered today (a bunch of them are free) with “thousands” more on the way. Check out the Fire TV’s games and apps catalog here. Note that most games do not require the separately sold Game Controller for use, however some do.
What else? In addition to movies and TV, the Android-powered box also streams music (Pandora, Vevo, etc.) and it can wirelessly stream your photos and video saved in Amazon Cloud Drive. You can also mirror your Amazon tablet to your HDTV in the same way iOS devices can be paired with Apple TVs and your Amazon tablet can provide a second screen experience by pulling up content that’s related to what you’re watching on the big screen. Last, Amazon FreeTime allows parents to setup personalized profiles for their kids to access appropriate movies, TV shows, apps, and games.
Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase today. Get a closer look at the media streamer and its gaming controller in the gallery below, then jump after the break to see the UI in action, a sneak peek at Amazon-developed games, and the first commercial for it starring the insane Gary Busey.
“The future of the pro desktop” is finally here. This week Apple made it possible for (wealthy) consumers to order the new and marginally improved Mac Pro through Apple.com. First announced at WWDC ’13, the Mac Pro comes configured in two ways: the base model, starting at $2,999, comes packed with a 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. The speedier $3,999 model sports a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. From there these models can be further upgraded before checking out. Apple says units will starting shipping in February. If you’re a heavy gamer or a professional creative in the TV and movie industries, this cylindrical powerhouse is just what the doctor prescribed.
Microsoft is updating its Surface tablets that showcase their redesigned operating system Windows 8. The Surface 2 is the successor to Surface for Windows RT; its 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p, it’s powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, and its battery life promises 10 hours for video playback. Its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 and its front and back-facing cameras have been upped to 3.5-megapixel and 5-megapixel, respectively; both can capture 1080p video and feature improved low-light performance. Preloaded with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT, the Surface 2 starts at $449 and will come in 32GB and 64GB configurations when it goes on sale October 22. Customers can choose from a black or white coat this time.
The Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface for Windows Pro; it packs the same 10.6-inch ClearType Full 1080p HD display as the Surface 2 but it’s faster as it’s powered by Intel’s fourth-generation 1.6GHz Core i5 processor. MSFT hypes a 75 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro thanks to the new processor and other internal enhancements. The device houses three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0, a mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and audio in/out. A two-stage kickstand, also featured on the Surface 2, gives users another angle to position their tablet. The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and will come in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8GB of RAM when it, too, hits the market October 22.
New Surface owners will get one year of free international calling and Skype hotspot access, along with 200GB of SkyDrive storage that is free for two years.
The new tablets will sell alongside some new accessories. The Touch ($119.99) and Type ($129.99) Covers are getting updated with thinner and light-weight designs. A new Power Cover ($199.99, coming in early 2014), which features a Type Cover experience, will extend your Surface’s battery life by up to 50 percent. A Docking Station for Surface Pro ($199.99, also coming early next year) will allow owners to easily connect desktop peripherals to their tablets, “taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant.” A Music Cover gives amateur DJs a new way to dive into the art of music making and remixing; release date and price is still TBA on this one.
Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the new Surface tablets and accessories.
Apple released the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on September 20 and just three days later it sold a record-breaking nine million of these new handsets. Also, more than 200 million iOS devices are now running Apple’s newly redesigned mobile operating system iOS 7, making it the fastest software upgrade in history.
“This is our best iPhone launch yet―more than nine million new iPhones sold―a new record for first weekend sales,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.”
Elsewhere, Apple has updated its iMac lineup with fourth generation Intel “Haswell” quad-core processors, new graphics, next generation WiFi, and faster PCIe flash storage options. The entry-level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and new Iris Pro graphics for improved integrated graphics performance. The high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch models feature quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce 700 series graphics with twice the video memory and up to 40 percent faster performance than the previous generation. Customers can also upgrade to quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4GB of video memory. Also, the iMacs now support 802.11ac WiFi that promises performance that is up to three times faster than the previous generation. The iMacs also support speedier PCIe-based flash storage that makes Fusion Drive and all-flash storage options up to 50 percent faster than before.
“iMac continues to be the example that proves how beautiful, fast and fun a desktop computer can be,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Marketing. “Inside its ultra-thin aluminum enclosure, the new iMac has the latest Intel processors, faster graphics, next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster PCIe flash storage.”
On Tuesday Tim Cook hosted an Apple event in Cupertino that introduced not one but two new iPhones. Also, Apple’s next-gen mobile operating system iOS 7 now has a release date and the company’s productivity suite and creative apps are about to become even more popular. Let’s dive in, shall we? (Click here for more…)
On top of the three new Droids detailed last week, Motorola–a Google company!–dropped another new smartphone into consumers’ laps. While the 2013 Droids are Verizon Wireless exclusives, the newly announced Moto X is coming to all major U.S. carriers. What also sets the Moto X apart from its cousins is that it’s highly customizable in the looks department. Motorola is developing a website called Moto Maker that will allow customers to personalize their handsets before ordering them. Specifically, prospective buyers will be able to select from a wide range of colors to paint the back plate and accents of the phone; Moto claims over 2,000 combinations are possible. The front plate, meanwhile, can be made black or white. Additionally you can add a signature to the back of the device. Internally, you can customize the memory (16GB or 32GB) and even set a personal wake-up message and wallpaper before it ships to your door. Before checkout, you can also choose a case, matching headphones by Sol Republic, and a wall charger featuring two USB ports to boot.
Sadly, yes, there is one catch. All of this exciting customization (as well as the option to upgrade memory to 32GB) through Moto Maker is exclusive to AT&T customers. Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular customers will have to choose from a stock black or white handset. Lame! Since Moto X’s specs and Android functionalities are so similar to that of the 2013 Droids’, the Moto Maker personalization is this device’s major selling point. The fact that it won’t be available to all carriers is downright disappointing.
The Moto X sports a 4.7 inch AMOLED 720p (316 ppi) display and is powered by Android 4.2.2 running on Motorola’s X8 mobile computing system. There’s a 10MP shooter on the rear and a 2MP front-facing one and they both support 1080p video capture. A 2200mAh battery promises “mixed usage” up to 24 hours. The most fascinating bit about the Moto X’s design is that it’s the first smartphone to be wholly manufactured in the United States. After you customize your phone through Moto Maker, it will be shipped to you within four days direct from an assembly line in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Software-wise, the latest version of Android Jelly Bean brings the following to Moto X: Touchless Control (say “Ok Google Now…” to wake up the device and perform a function), Active Display (the device will intermittently reveal important information (i.e. the time, new notifications) without you having to press to the wake up button), and Quick Capture (with two twists of your wrist you can access the camera to shoot stills or video).
Moto X is coming to the US, Canada, and Latin America in late August/early September at $199. AT&T subscribers can upgrade to a 32GB model for an extra $50. Click after the break to watch the Moto Maker experience and see the Moto X in action. (Click here for more…)
On Wednesday Google made a couple product announcements and what we’re doing now, we’re diving right in.
First up is Chromecast, a new way to wirelessly stream content from your personal devices to your big screen TV. The hardware itself resembles a small USB stick, except inside of plugging into a USB port it goes into an HDMI port located on your HDTV. After being plugged in, Chromecast requires two things to function: it needs power (using included cables you can either plug it into a standard wall socket or a USB port on your TV) and WiFi. Land on the correct TV input and blam, you’re connected and ready to go.
Chromecast doesn’t actually boast a user interface. Everything is streamed and controlled by your personal device. For example, if you want to stream an episode of Arrested Development from Netflix, you’d open the Netflix app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet and click the “cast” button to wirelessly stream the video content to your TV. Once the content is projected to the TV, the device you’re streaming it from becomes the remote control allowing you to play, pause, and scrub through whatever you’re watching.
In addition to Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, and Chrome are currently compatible with Chromecast. In addition to streaming video and music with those apps, the inclusion of Chrome allows you to stream Tabs so you can browse the Internet on your TV. Google is letting developers get their hands on a Google Cast SDK preview so that more apps can become compatible with Chromecast. In the pipeline already is a new version of Pandora that will work with Chromecast with more promised on the way. And Chromecast works across a variety of devices; in addition to Android phones and tablets it also functions with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Macs and PCs.
So why buy Chromecast, especially if you already own an Apple TV or Roku or the like? I can think of two reasons right off the bat: one, it costs $35. Yeah, that’s it. You’ll want to own this thing just because you can. And then there’s ease of portability. Sure, you can unplug your Roku and bring it around the house, TV to TV, whenever you like. But can’t you imagine how simpler it’d be to transport something as small as a USB stick to get the job done? The only issue here, of course, is that Chromecast doesn’t support Hulu and Amazon Instant Video and all the other video streaming services out there. Yet. But once it does, Chromecast has the potential to shake things up in the entertainment space. For now, though, see it as an extremely portable and affordable way to bring Netflix, YouTube, and other Google services with you provided an HDMI slot is available to play.
Hop after the break to learn about Google’s other product announcement, if you dare. (Click here for more…)
Meet the Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, and Droid Maxx.
The Mini, as its name makes obvious, is the smallest of the bunch sporting an edge-to-edge 4.3-inch TFT display with an HD resolution of 1280 x 720. Inside there’s a Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System (that is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with a 400MHz quad-core GPU, natural language processor, and contextual computing processor), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, a 10-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture, and a 2000mAh Li–Ion battery for up to 28 hours of usage or up to 14 days of standby time.
Verizon is calling the Ultra “thinnest 4G LTE smartphone available” measuring 7.18mm thin. It rocks a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with an HD rez of 1280 x 720. It packs a Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System inside (that is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with a 400MHz quad-core GPU, natural language processor, and contextual computing processor). 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard memory is standard here, too, as is a 10MP shooter with HD video capture and the 2130mAh battery (up to 28 hours usage or up to 13 days standby time).
And then there’s the Maxx. Its specs are nearly identical to the Ultra’s expect for its heftier size thanks to an extremely large battery. The non-removable 3500mAh battery promises up to 48 hours of usage (that’s two days!) or 25 days standby. Also, the Maxx has double the internal memory at 32GB. The Maxx also touts built-in wireless charging compatible with a charging pad sold separately.
All the new Droids are made with DuPont Kevlar fiber unibody design and Corning Gorilla Glass. The 4G LTE enabled phones run the latest version of Android, that is 4.2 Jelly Bean, featuring new software enhancements including Droid Command Center (an exclusive homescreen widget for users to easily access notifications for text messages, missed calls, battery level and weather), Droid Zap (a new way to share pictures with nearby Droid users), hands-free voice activation (Droid users can wake up their phones by saying “OK Google Now” and telling it what to do next), and Wireless Display (users can mirror what’s on the screen onto a Miracast-enabled HDTV).
The three Droids by Motorola are up for preorder today. After signing a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, the Droid Mini can be yours for $99.99, available August 29. The Droid Ultra (made in black and red) and Droid Maxx both go on sale August 20 at $199.99 and $299.99, respectively. Pix in the gallery below. PR after the break.
“Can we take what you love and make it better?” That is the question Microsoft posed at the start of its #XboxReveal event earlier today. The answer lies in their new generation of Xbox hardware and software, “the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system” that is “simple, instant, and complete.” Nope, it’s not the Xbox 720 or Xbox Infinity as the rumor mill had us guessing; the next-gen console from Microsoft is the Xbox One. (Click here for more…)
On Wednesday Sony took the stage in New York to formally introduce their next-generation console, the PlayStation 4. Though the company failed to show industry developers, members of the press, and gamers watching a live stream from all around the world what the actual console looks like, it did reveal two new PS4 accessories (namely the DualShock 4 wireless controller and the PlayStation 4 Eye motion sensing camera) and it did go into some detail about how powerful and socially integrated the system is. Read on to learn everything there is to know about Sony’s next-gen vid-game console. (Click here for more…)
Last Wednesday Apple updated its MacBook Pro with Retina Display lineup with new processors and more affordable prices. The 13-inch MBP with Retina Display now starts at $1,499 (with 128GB of flash storage), and for $1,699 you can opt for a model with a new 2.6GHz processor and 256GB of flash storage. The 15-inch MBP with Retina also received a processor upgrades now featuring models complete with 2.4GHz quad-core and 2.7 GHz quad-core processors. Additionally, the Pro’s slimmer cousin the 13-inch MacBook Air also saw a price drop and now starts at $1,399 (with 256GB of flash storage). These new MBP and MBA models are available at these prices and with these specs today at Apple.com, Apple Stores, and authorized resellers.
Microsoft’s more powerful version of its Surface tablet finally has a release date. Surface with Windows 8 Pro comes to market February 9. It comes packed with Intel’s Core i5 processor and it supports apps available in the Windows Store as well as legacy programs that run on Windows 7 and other previous OS’. More Pro advantages: this slate sports a 1920 x 1080 full HD display, 4GB of RAM, a fast USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a pen with Palm Block technology. The Pro starts at $899 for the 64GB model; alongside it is a 128GB model that will sell for $999. Unlike the RT version, the Pro doesn’t come bundled with a keyboard cover. The Touch Cover and Type Cover sell separately for $119.99 and $129.99, respectively.
In addition to fully fleshing out the Pro’s future release, Microsoft announced a new pricing option for the Surface for Windows RT. This is the 64GB model but it ditches the keyboard cover to sell for $599. It joins the standalone 32GB model ($499), the 32GB model with Black Touch Cover ($599), and 64GB model with Black Touch Cover ($699).
And there’s more. Microsoft is adding more to its Surface accessory lineup. Three new limited edition Touch Covers featuring funky designs in red, magenta, and cyan are coming soon; they’re priced at $129.99. Also on deck is a wireless Wedge mouse whose design is inspired by the modern look of the Surface; it’s priced at $69.95.
Take a look at the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, along with the new accessories, in the gallery below.
The latest member to join the Droid smartphone family is the Droid DNA by HTC and it’s the most powerful one yet. Right off the bat you’ll notice its 5-inch, true 1080p HD super LCD 3 display (440 pixels per inch) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, specifically a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU that’s paired with a high-performance GPU. Android’s latest and greatest Jelly Bean operating system comes preinstalled along with HTC Sense 4+. The backside camera specs go like this: 8-megapixel f/2.0 28mm wide-angle lens, 5-level automatic flash, backside illuminated sensor (BSI), superfast autofocus, 1080p HD video capture. The 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera features f/2.0 88-degree ultra-wide angle lens and also captures full HD video. Beats Audio is on board, as is “a unique, 2.55-volt, built-in headset amplifier and dedicated amp for the external rear-speaker to help boost the audio signal to deliver crystal clear sound with less distortion, even at maximum volume.” WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC are here as well. It is 4G LTE capable. It packs a 2,020mAh battery. And as far as measurements go, the DNA is 9.73mm thick and weighs 4.86 ounces.
The Droid DNA is arguably the best and most powerful handset Verizon Wireless offers today. Well, technically it releases Wednesday, November 21st, but you can preorder it now if you like. Sign a new two-year contract and it’s yours for a reasonable $199.99. PR after the break. (Click here for more…)
On the same day that Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 and detailed a hardware lineup, Google decided to announce new hardware along with a new version Android.
Google leaves it up to many third party smartphone manufacturers to develop devices to run Android. Once in a while, however, the search engine likes to inject its own cream into the crop with devices branded Nexus. The next smartphone featuring vanilla Android is the Nexus 4 and it’s a collaboration between Google and LG this time. Here are the hard specs: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus display (1280 x 768 resolution, 320ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor; 2GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording and 1.3 megapixel front camera; 2,100mAh battery promising 15.3 hours talk time and 390 hours of standby; 8GB and 16GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC and wireless charging; ports include Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; it’s 9.1mm thin and weighs 139g; and it supports 3G (WCDMA) and HSPA+ networks. The Nexus 4 comes loaded with the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2) and it releases November 13 at $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB); it will be sold as an unlocked device at those prices in the Google Play store. Buy the 16GB model from T-Mobile with a new two-year contract and you can get it for a more affordable $199. On launch day it will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia and it’ll start to roll out to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East beginning in late November.
Google is already in the tablet game with the Nexus 7, and today they’ve decided to up their game with an even larger slate to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. A collaboration with Samsung, the Nexus 10 packs–you guessed it–a 10.055-inch WQXGA display with an incredible 2560 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi) and Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coat of protection. Other specs include: dual-core Cortex A15-based 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 processor; Mali T604 GPU; 2GB RAM; 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front camera; front-facing stereo speakers; 9000 mAh battery promising 9 hours of continuous video playback and 500 hours of standby; 16GB and 32GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC; ports include Micro USB, Magnetic Pogo pin charger, Micro HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; and it’s 8.9mm thin and weighs 603g. The Nexus 10 too comes preinstalled with Jelly Bean 4.2 and it releases November 13 at $399 (8GB) and $499 (16GB); these slates are WiFi-only.
Google’s original Nexus 7 slate is seeing an update. The 8GB model is no longer offered; in its place are 16GB ($199) and 32GB ($249) flavors. Available today are those WiFi-only models, and come November 13 a 32GB model with WiFi and HSPA+ data (with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) will sell for $299.
In addition to announcing a new smartphone and tablet, Google injected new life into Android with the latest version of Jelly Bean 4.2. Photo Sphere allows you to take pictures in every direction and stitch them together for immersive panoramic images; Gesture Typing brings Swype-like interaction to the virtual keyboard; support for multiple user accounts gives your friends and family their own personal spaces on a single device (this feature is limited to tablets only running v4.2); Daydream allows you to personalize your screensaver with photos and news; and Google Now and Google Search have been updated with more cards and an enhanced interface, respectively. For more, click the source link below. (Update: The Google Search app for iOS has been updated with improved voice search that rivals Siri. Download here, video demo after the break.)
And just like that, Google has their very own lineup of Android-powered Nexus devices in three different sizes. Get a closer look at the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet in the galleries embedded above; after the break there’s video.
Apple intros 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, updated Mac mini & iMac, fourth-gen iPad & iPad mini
On Tuesday Apple took the stage for the second time in two months to announce a slew of new hardware. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been gifted a Retina display to match its 15-inch brother, the Mac mini packs the latest specs, the iMac slimmed down in a major way, a fourth generation iPad with Retina display replaced its six month old predecessor, and the tablet now has a smaller companion in the iPad mini. Read on for the full rundown organized by product category.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
This summer Apple introduced the “next-generation” MacBook Pro with a 15-inch model featuring a Retina display with a resolution of 2880 x 1800. This week the 13-inch model received a similar upgrade. The new MBP sports a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 (that is 4x the number of pixels than the previous 13-incher). Apple is calling it “the world’s second highest resolution notebook display” behind the 15-inch MBP with Retina display, of course. The screen promises rich color, deep blacks, 29 percent higher contrast ratio, 75 percent reduced reflection, IPS for 178 degree viewing angle, and 300 nits brightness. The optical drive is gone, and this allows for a slimmer design; the new MBP is 0.75 inches thin (20 percent thinner than before) and weighs 3.57 pounds (almost a pound lighter), making it the lightest MBP ever. It features a FaceTime HD camera, backlit keyboard, left and right speakers, glass multi-touch trackpad, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and 7 hours of battery life. Ports along the left side include MagSafe 2, two Thunderbolt ports, one USB 3 port, a headphone jack, and dual mics; on the other side there’s an SD card slot, one HDMI port, one USB 3 port. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display specs start at 2.5GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB flash storage for $1699. Now shipping.
Apple’s MacBook lineup includes 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pros with and without Retina displays and 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs.
Jump after the break to see the new Mac mini, iMac, iPad, and iPad mini. (Click here for more…)
Let Microsoft’s first Surface commercial dance right into your heart [Update: Pricing & specs revealed, preorder today, ships 10/26]
With the release of Microsoft’s radically new operating system coming out so soon, the company has let loose a fun commercial touting its in-house tablet dubbed Surface. Directed by Jon Chu (Step Up 3D) and choreographed by Christopher Scott and Jamal Sims, the spot incorporates an infectious track and aggressive dance moves to market its snazzy slate to a young crowd. Though it doesn’t offer specs and pricing, it does highlight the Surface’s ability to snap to a cover/keyboard hybrid the company calls Touch Cover and Type Cover, and it also puts the device’s built-in kick stand in the spotlight. It also screams that Windows 8 begs to be touched.
Surface for Windows RT releases day and date with Windows 8 on October 26.
Update: Now there’s even more to celebrate. Today Microsoft put up a product page for Surface with Windows RT and it includes a final spec list and pricing. Three separate SKUs are offered. The tablet starts at $499 and that gets you a 32GB slate. For $599 you get the same storage capacity and the slate is bundled with a black Touch Cover. And for $699 storage jumps to 64GB and you’ll get a black Touch Cover. The company is selling Touch Covers separately at $119.99 in a variety of colors including black, white, red, cyan, and magenta. Also sold separately is the Type Cover at $129.99 in black only. According to the site, the cheapest SKU ships “within three weeks” while the other two will arrive on your doorstep on Windows 8 launch day October 26. Preorder today.
When Microsoft announced Surface in June, they didn’t fully divulge all of the tablet’s specs. Now we’ve got ‘em all. Been wondering what the 10.6 inch display’s resolution is? It’s 1366 x768. For a full list of juicy specs, jump after the break for the official PR. Glance at new images that just surfaced below.
Like clockwork Barnes and Noble has outed new slates to compete head-to-head with Kindle’s new Fire tablets. There’s two of ‘em, a 9-inch and a 7-inch, and they take aesthetic tips from their predecessors Nook Tablet and Nook Color, so let’s dive right in.
The 9-inch Nook HD+ boasts a full HD display (1920 x 1280 resolution, 256 pixels per inch) and it’s powered by a 1.5GHz OMAP4470 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It’s lightweight at 515 grams and promises up to 10 hours of reading and 9 hours of video playback. As far as ports go there’s a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, one HDMI-compatible port, microSD, and a charging port. WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth are built-in. It comes in a black “slate” color in 16GB ($269) and 32GB ($299) storage variants. The HD+ is up for preorder today and goes on sale in November.
The 7-inch Nook HD packs a 720p display (1440 x 900 resolution, 243 pixels per inch) and it’s powered by a 1.3GHz OMAP 4470 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It’s even lighter than it’s more powerful sibling at 315 grams and its battery promises nearly the same life expectancy. The ports, expanded memory, and wireless connectivity remain the same. It comes in not one but two colors–black “smoke” and white “snow.” The 16GB models will sell for $199 and the 32GB models will go for $199 when the HD releases this November. Like the HD+, it’s available for preorder today.
So if you’re in the market for a new device that delivers reading experiences (books, magazines, newspapers), video and music playback, and apps, the competition (read: Google, Amazon, Apple) just heated up.
Following Nokia’s Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, HTC unveiled their Windows Phone 8 flagship device, Windows Phone 8X and a budget-friendly mid-range model, Windows Phone 8S.
The 8X sports a 4.3-inch (1280 x 720) Super LCD 2 display with Gorilla Glass 2 protection with a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 1GB RAM, 16GB of storage, a rear-facing 8 megapixel camera featuring a CMOS sensor with backside illumination, an f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens, and a dedicated imaging chip, and a front-facing 2.1 megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture and 88 degree ultra-wide angle. Both cameras can shoot 1080p video. NFC, Beats Audio, a 1,800mAh Li-ion battery, and LTE support are built-in. The 8X will come in a variety of colors including California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red, and Limelight Yellow when it ships this November. AT&T and T-Mobile have confirmed they will carry HTC’s flagship WP8 device at that time.
And then there’s the mid-ranger, the 8S. This model packs a 4-inch WVGA LCD screen with Gorilla Glass, a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage with microSD expandability, and there’s a 5 megapixel camera ’round back with support for 720p video recording but you won’t find a front-facing shooter here. A slightly less powerful 1,700 mAh battery gives the thing juice. The 8S will also ship this November in following hues: Domino, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue, and High-Rise Gray.
When release dates, pricing, and exact carrier support become apparent, you will be notified. Over and out.
At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced a new smaller and lighter PlayStation 3. This marks the second time the PS3 has gone under the knife since its debut in 2006. Here are the most significant changes, according to the PlayStation maker:
Thanks to a complete redesign of the internal architecture, the volume and weight of the new PS3 has been reduced by more than half compared to the very first PS3 model with a 60GB HDD, and by 20% and 25% respectively compared to the current PS3. By adopting a sliding disk cover, the new PS3 continues with the characteristic sleek curved body design, which fits various places in the home and enables users to enjoy an array of entertainment content.
Starting September 25, Sony will sell the newly redesigned PS3 in a $269.99 bundle that includes a 250GB HDD, a copy of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: Game of the Year Edition, and a voucher to download bonus content for the game DUST 514. About a month later on October 30, a 500GB varient will release and come bundled with Assassin’s Creed III; pricing is still TBD. A white version and one with 16GB Flash storage were also unveiled, but these are exclusive to Japan for now. Browse the gallery below for a closer look at the even slimmer PS3.
Also announced at TGS is that PlayStation Plus is coming to the PS Vita. If you’re already a member of Plus on the PS3, there will be no entry fee to port your status to the portable. If you’re a new subscribers you’ll be able to choose from two options: $18 for 90 days or $50 for one year. Plus features for Vita include an Instant Game Collection, discounts for games and DLC, online game storage, automatic updates and trophy sync. Plus for Vita launches this November.
Lastly, Sony announced that PlayStation Mobile is coming to smartphones and tablets on October 3. PSM promises to bring “PlayStation-like” game experiences to PlayStation-Certified devices. Said devices will come from partners like HTC, Fujitsu, Sharp, and of course Sony.
And in related PS news, the augmented reality experience known as Wonderbook will ship November 13. For $79 you get the hardcover Wonderbook that’s filled with AR codes, a PlayStation Eye camera and a Move controller, and the Wonderbook launch title featuring source material from J.K. Rowling Book of Spells. This bundle is all that’ll be available this year, but Sony says to look forward to next year when new Wonderbook titles Diggs: Nightcrawler, BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs, and others from Disney will come out to play.
The third major tech company to take the spotlight this week was Amazon. On Thursday they updated their e-reader and tablet lineups with the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD.
The Kindle Paperwhite is the fifth-generation Kindle e-reader and it houses “the most advanced e-reader display ever constructed,” says Amazon. How so? It contains 212 pixels-per-inch making room for 62% more pixels than before and this allows text to appear crisper and clearer and images are sharper and richer. In addition, the blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter thanks to 25% higher contrast. What Amazon is really touting here is the patented front-lit display that makes reading with or without natural or artificial light a better experience. With the light left on all the time, the Paperwhite will still give you 8 weeks of battery life. The new e-reader packs a 6-inch capacitive touchscreen for input; there are no physical buttons for page-turning. Amazon describes its size like this: “[it's] thinner than a magazine [at just over a third of an inch thin] and weighs less than a typical paperback [weighing 7.5 ounces].” Software enhancements include Time to Read, a feature that helps readers know the amount of time it will take them to finish a chapter or a book; X-Ray, a feature that lets readers see all passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia; WhisperSync for Voice that allows readers to start an audiobook on one device and pick up where they left off on another; and new typeface options. A Wi-Fi only version of the Kindle Paperwhite goes on sale October 1 for $119. A 3G version will sell for $179. Preorder today.
In addition to introducing a second generation Kindle Fire (more on that device soon), Amazon added two new Android-based devices to the Fire family. The Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions. The larger display model features 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 (1080p full HD). The smaller display model has a lower resolution of 1280 x 800 (720p). New LCD technology reduces glare by 25% compared to the third-generation iPad. Also, integrated IPS allows for wide viewing angles. Other specs include: 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP4 4470 processor (in the Fire HD 8.9″), 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 460 processor (in the Fire HD 7″), Dolby Audio with dual stereo speakers, a front-facing camera for video chat, and built-in Bluetooth, HDMI-out, and 40% faster WiFi (compared to the latest iPad) thanks to dual-band support, dual antennas, and MIMO technology. To size ‘em up, the Fire HD 8.9″ is 8.8mm thin weighing 20 oz. and the Fire HD 7″ is 10.2mm weighing 13.9 oz. Amazon shares that the smaller model gets 11 hours of battery life. Software enhancements include X-Ray for books, movies, and textbooks, allowing users to augment their tablet experience with expanded information from Wikipedia, IMDb, and YouTube; and FreeTime, a set of parental controls that allows parents to limit their kids’ screen time by content type. Pricing and availability. The Fire HD 8.9″ comes in four flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($299), WiFi-only 32GB ($369), 4G LTE 32GB ($499), and 4G LTE 64GB ($599). For $49.99 customers can receive 4G LTE from AT&T, 250GB of data per month for one year, plus 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore. The Fire HD 8.9″ is up for preorder today and goes on sale November 20. The Fire HD 7″ comes in two flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($199) and WiFi-only 32GB ($249). These are in direct competition with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. They’re also there to preorder and will release sooner on September 14.
Now I told you I would return to the successor of the original Kindle Fire. Amazon is still calling it the Kindle Fire, and it still features the same 1024 x 600 non-HD 7-inch display. What’s changed? It’s got a 40% faster processor for better performance (1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 430), twice the memory (1GB), and longer battery life (8.5 hours). The sole 8GB model goes on sale September 14 for $159.
Want to know what the rest of the Amazon e-reader line looks like today? In addition to the Kindle Paperwhite, the latest generation OG Kindle is still hanging in there. A slightly updated new model ships September 14 with 15 percent faster page turns and at a lower price point, $69 (ad-supported). Also still available is the Kindle Keyboard with 3G for $139 (ad-supported) and the giant Kindle DX with 3G at $379.
Get a closer look at the new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader and Kindle Fire tablets in the galleries below (in order Kindle Paperwhite, Fire HD 8.9″, Fire HD 7″, OG Fire). After the break, video and PR.