SkyGo Brings Movies to Tablets/Smartphones

Just in time for the Christmas viewing season, Sky has announced that it is bringing Sky Movies Live and on demand on Sky Go.

This means that Sky TV customers can have access to hundreds of films via their tablets and smartphones, as well as at home on their TVs.

Sky-Movies-iPad

Sky Movies subscribers can use Sky Go to stream movies on demand over a Wi-Fi connection (there should be 3G capability by the end of the year). They will be able to see content from all 11 Sky Movies channels – films they can look forward to over the next few weeks include Black Swan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Little Fockers and Limitless.

This is the latest expansion to the Sky Go service, which lets customers view Sky content using their iPads, iPod Touch, iPhone, PC, Mac and laptops. SkyGo was launched in July this year and has nearly two million users to date. It also offers access to channels such as Sky News and Sky Sports.

Earlier this month, Sky also launched a dedicated Sky Movies App for iPhone and iPad, offering listings for movies currently showing on Sky Movies and at the cinema, movie trailers and the option to record movies via Sky+ remote record.

A Sky Go app for Android handsets should be available in the next few months.

Sky’s attempts at world domination look set to progress next year when the Sky Go experience will be supported by the ability for Sky customers to use at least 5,700 public Wi-Fi hotspots, ins coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, transport hubs, hotels and gyms. This follows Sky’s acquisition of the Cloud, a public Wi-Fi network.

The Sky Go app is available for free to Sky customers from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore

Blackberry goes multi platform at last with Blackberry Multi Fusion

The ongoing battle between Blackberry, iOS and Android users as to whose platform is best has taken an interesting turn with the recent announcement that RIM (Research in Motion)  the manufacturer of Blackberry is releasing a set of cross platform enterprise mobility tools entitled Multi Fusion.

RIM-HQ

The tools have been designed to simplify the headache facing corporate IT heads trying to effectively manage their employees’ smart phones and tablets running either BlackBerry, Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems or a combination of all three. Much of this is due to the growing trend of companies adopting a ‘bring your own device to use at work’ approach, giving IT bosses a plethora of issues to digest.

Blackberry Multi Fusion, which is currently undergoing beta testing and heading for a late March 2012 release, has certainly gained credibility points over its competitors who have yet to do anything remotely similar.

Alan Panezic, Vice President, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at Research In Motion is quick to point out “BlackBerry Mobile Fusion brings together our industry-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology for BlackBerry devices with mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices, all managed from one web-based console. It provides the necessary management capabilities to allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organisations.”

As far as actual mobile device management capabilities is concerned, Blackberry Multi Fusion will offer:

  • Asset management
  • Configuration  management
  • Security and policy definition and management
  • Secure and protect lost or stolen devices (remote lock, wipe)
  • User- and group-based administration
  • Multiple device per user capable
  • Application and software management
  • Connectivity management (Wi-Fi®, VPN, certificate)
  • Centralised console
  • High scalability

This is great news for under fire IT bosses, but perhaps it’s also a first step towards platform harmony?

US Robotics tread new waters with an ‘uninspiring’ group of tablet accessories

In the increasingly evolving world of technology and gadgets, manufacturers frequently have to explore other avenues in order to thwart the otherwise inevitable prospect of liquidation from knocking at their doors. The latest electronics company to delve into fresh territory is US Robotics, known primarily for producing high-speed modems in the 80s. Given that modems that were considered high-speed in the 80s have been diminishing almost as quickly as VHS’s, US Robotics was prompted to poke its fingers into the tablet accessories pie.

US-Robotics

The new accessories include stands and keyboards designed to work with tablets, smartphones. Netbooks, eReaders and iDevices. These stylish stands contrast significantly with US Robotics former wares – big, bulky, displeasing to the eye and with as much gadgetry-sophistication in the modern world as a black and white telly but at the time were considered the most pioneering and highest quality of electronic devices that money could buy.

First on the list is the USR5512 Charging Stand for iDevices – a small and inconspicuous stand with a 30-pin connector. Users can connect the USR5512 to a computer via an iPad USB cable, enabling simultaneous charging and syncing while on the stand.

Regressing back to its more ‘traditional’ roots is the USR5510 tablet stand and the USR5511 slim tablet stand, both of which provide no other functions other than being a conventional stand.

Determined to head down the keyboard trail, US Robotics has launched the USR5500 wireless Bluetooth keyboard and the USR5502 mini Bluetooth keyboard, both of which are compatible with the iPad and other tablets, computers and electronic devices. The USR5500 seems a little more inventive than its sibling in possessing built-in keys that can activate special features on the iPad, such as slideshows.

Whilst US Robotics newest endeavours are hardly the most exciting or inspiring group of accessories featured By LatestGadgets, with the stands starting from $19.99 and the Bluetooth keyboards at $39.99, they are reasonably priced and are an unambiguous reminder on just how much technology has progressed in the past four decades.

Toshiba AT100: Android tablets hit maturity

This Autumn sees a wealth of mature Android tablets hitting stores – pumped up with better specs and the new 3.1 and 3.2 Honeycomb operating systems. One of these mature devices is the Toshiba AT100 (formally known as the Thrive). How does it shape up? Read on.

Toshiba-AT100

The Toshiba AT100 launched on September 1st, bringing with it Android 3.1 – Google’s first tablet-optimised OS. Most new tablets will be sporting this bad boy, so we’ll move on to other features.

The 250 Tegra processor is the standard heart for most tablets, so we’ll not dwell on it too much. It basically means that all current Android apps should run a-ok, although we’d be wary of playing Full HD videos on it.

There’s a generous amount of DDR2 RAM (1GB) so multitasking should be a breeze, although the built-in 16GB of storage is pretty minimal. Luckily, it takes full-sized SD cards up to 128GB, so you could have a pretty big storage system on your hands.

It’s not just a storage beast, though – it’s pretty beefy all over. It weighs 725g and 15.7mm thick – thicker even than a MacBook Air, and much larger than other tablets.

You’ll also find a full-sized USB and HDMI port, which add to the overall size of the device but also give it increased functionality over its rivals.

The added bulk doesn’t add much battery life, though – you’ll find an Android-standard seven hours.

A lot of that battery must go towards powering the 1280×800, 10.1″ screen, with brightness and colour boasted courtesy of Toshiba’s Resolution+ technology. It’s nice that the resolution is the same as a MacBook, but the picture quality won’t match up with the iPad’s screen.

All-in, it’s one of the biggest tablets on the market – and therefore probably suited to hardcore users. It’ll plug-in to pretty much everything that you’ve already got in your office, and you’ll certainly notice if you’ve accidentally left it behind.

It’s affordable, too, at around £380-£400.

Fusion Garage Grid 10: Exciting times in the non-iPad market

Most tablet users will never have heard of Fusion Garage, the company behind the new Grid-10 tablet. The Singaporean manufacturer originally teamed up with the blog Tech Crunch to create a user-friendly tablet before the iPad revolution rewrote slate history.

Unfortunately, their partnership with Tech Crunch ended in the courts, and their first computer – the Joojoo, wasn’t anywhere near as magical as the Apple device. Will the Grid be better (it certainly sounds cooler)? Read on.

Grid-10

The tablet pushes the standard hardware specs of iPad rivals into a new territory with a 1366×768 (10.1″) widescreen and a Nvidia Tegre 2 dual-core at 1.2GHz. It’s a small improvement, but for £303 they’re pretty impressive stats. There is also 512MB RAM and a rather small 16GB storage capacity (bolster by microSD cards, though).

Unlike any other tablet, however, it runs Grid OS – a totally new operating system built on top of Android. This means all of Android’s apps should function without a problem. The UI itself is 100% gesture based – except the keyboard and on/off button, of course.

One of the most-talked about (of many) interesting features of the new OS tablet is the Seamless State capability. If you’ve got a Grid 4 (a smartphone by the same company), you can consume content on one device, then pause it and pick-up where you left off on the other one. Cool.

Another is that to access the device, you sign the screen with your signature – unlocking the device and proving that the correct user is signing in.

There’s also a wheel-based menu that provides instant access to functions similar to a right-click on a PC – edit, search, buy etc.

Fusion Garage have built-in a bunch of other unique functions into the device, which they outlined below:

o Intelligent Notifications: These determine the time of day an event takes place and, for example, offers time-based suggestions such as restaurant recommendations near a user’s GPS-determined lunch location. Recommendations are pulled from various web locations such as Yelp!

o Intelligent Calendar Integration: This determines if a user has an appointment and, for example, suggests the best driving route based on traffic condition. It also can recognise a restaurant name in the user’s calendar and offer reviews, addresses, maps, and other related information

o Smart Searching/Buzz Recommendations Engine: The Buzz Recommendations Engine powers Smart Searching

o Smart Searching and Buzz Recommendations are based on word association technology. When a user highlights a word (such as “Transformers”) automatic search recommendations are offered to the user in the most likely categories (Wikipedia, International Movie Database, online stores to buy the video or associated toys.)

o Buzz delivers recommendations on broad categories of word choices such as products, people, music, restaurant names, and more. It also delivers associated consumer sentiment on any given search by scanning Twitter for previous tweets on a given subject and provides a sentiment analysis of around the topic to provide positive, negative and neutral percentages.

For example, if the movie Transformers is highlighted and the Buzz option is clicked users will be able to see the corresponding sentiment from Twitter

Ø Grid’s Heartbeat feature gives users a full picture of their world as it happens. Appointments, applications, messaging, downloads, notifications and contextual information are all available at a glance.

Users pull in Heartbeat with a two-finger gesture from the right side of the screen and can then multitask between screens of open applications with each giving a complete view of the full application

It’s also iTunes compatible, so you can send content originally purchased from iTunes on the device.

All-in, we’re pretty excited. We thought nothing could shake us off-course from the Archos G9 101 we got our hands on a few weeks ago. Then the Grid 10 turns up and now we’re all in a flutter – it’s certainly exciting times in the non-iPad tablet market.

Sony’s Christmas in July

Sony news has been up and down of late (a lot more down than up). But that’s about to change after the company released its  Christmas product plans – and invited us see ‘em. Just off of London’s Bond Street, Sony’s Christmas in July laid bare the highlights of the company’s x-mas offering:

Sony-Christmas-in-July

3D Camcorders

Two 3D camcorders grace Sony’s Christmas line-up – one premium, one portable. The Handycam HDR-TD10 is the world’s first Full HD 3D camcorder. Using two lenses the camcorder captures two images that it automatically stitches together into one 3D video, ready for outputting onto a 3D screen. We saw it in action and the depth was definitely impressive!

The Bloggie 3D is a more portable 3D camera, with a NDS-style 3D screen for glasses-free 3D viewing. You can even attach a 360-degree lens to record everything happening around the camera – pretty mental, really.

Compact and Beautiful

The NEX-C3 builds on the success of its predecessor by being lighter and even more beautiful. There are various attachments, including a flashgun, and impressive macro and zoom lens. What really struck us, however, was how light it was – the body weighs just 225g and exudes quality. Like.

Projecting Camcorders

The HDR-PJ30 records video like a standard Handycam – but can project its videos up to 60” onto a wall for instant playback. It’s a nice touch.

Mystery Tablets

We got to see the S1 and S2 tablets – although playing with them was a no-no. Despite not seeing what they can do, the piano-black finish means they certainly look sweet. What this space for further updates.

New Docks

Three new iPod docks arrive this Christmas – with the RDP-X60iP being the stand-out contender. While the others – the RDP-M5iP and the M15ip are both impressively loud from a built-in battery pack – the X60iP is really impressively loud from the mains. The sound quality is great, too.

On a budget? The Hannspree Android tablet could fill the gap

Really want an Android tablet but lacking the necessary funds? Monitor manufacturer Hannspree has just released a tablet – the HANNSpad – that comes in at very reasonable £249 (pretty good when you consider the likes of the Motorola Xoom come with a pricetag of around £480).

Hannspad

Okay, you know there are going to be some corners uct at this price, so what are you going to miss out on? Well, firstly, the tablet ships with a customised version of the Android 2.2 operating system, rather than 3.0 (Honeycomb), which is specifically designed for tablets – and second, the display resolution comes in at a budget-sized 1.024×600.

Having said that, you still get a dual-core 1GHz ARM cortex A9 processor under the bonnet and 1080p video playback courtesy of an Nvidia Tegra chipset. Plus, there’s a reasonable 16GB of storage on board. You can upgrade this to 32Gb via the microSD slot (which is more than you can do on an iPad). But it is possible that the operating system will mean this tablet is out of date, just as it has launched.

There is also no camera, but we’re not convinced that cameras are an important part of any tablet PC – surely you’re likely to use your smartphone or compact digital instead – but it could a deal-breaker from some we guess
Web browsing should be speedy with that Cortex A9, and the tablet also supports Flash – a 10.1in LED, capacitive, multi-touch touch screen adds to the user experience. The tablet also includes WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, plus mini USB 2.0 and mini HDMI 1.4 for 1080p video.

The tablet is also preloaded with a plethora of handy programs such as browser, contacts, calendar, email, music, news, and more.

If you’re desperate for a Tablet PC and your budget is really stretched, the Hannspree Hannspad will get you on the new tech ladder, but we suspect you might be frustrated by the already past its sell-by date operating system in no time.
More at www.hannspree.com/eu/en/

The battle of the tablets heats up: iPad faces eeePad and WePad … sorry WeTab

Everybody may be talking about the iPad at the moment as being the hippest gadget on the tablet bazaar, but the ‘WePad’ and Asus’s ‘Eee Pad’ have quietly snuck onto the market and may prove to be close challengers in knocking Apple’s iPad off its pedestal.

iPad-eeePad-weTab

Besides the use of a different vowel in its name, the Eee Pad has some other distinctions, which differentiate from the iPad. Asus have built the Eee Pad using an Nvidia Tegra chip and Google Android OS continues to spread its influence far and wide by running the Eee Pad. Unlike the iPad, Asus’s version has USB ports, as well as a webcam and support for Adobe Flash – additions which are arguably aimed mainly at giving Apple a run for their money. The Asus Eee Pad is to be unveiled at the Computex Conference in June and is expected to be available from July. The rumors are that the Eee Pad will be priced at around the $500 mark (approximately 330 pounds).

You’d think companies would be a little more adventurous with the naming of their products wouldn’t you? But no as the German company Neofonie followed its rivals like sheep with the launch of the WePad. Although realizing the potential legal problems, such an unoriginal and similar name may cause, Neophonie made a recent announcement on Facebook that they are changing the WePad to be called the WeTab. Except for its new and more innovative name, there is nothing spectacularly different to mention about the WePad. Like the Eee Pad it is Android run, has support for Flash web content, sports USB ports, a SD card slot and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. And like the iPad there are two different models available. The 16GB model will cost 449 Euros (approximately 390 pounds), whilst the 32GB version, which includes GPS and a 1080p display will retail at 569 Euros (approximately 490 pounds). The WePad, sorry now WeTab, is planned to be available sometime after July when a soft launch is scheduled.

With a so far seemingly unchanged monopoly of the tablet market, Apple, due to a ‘surprisingly strong US demand’, pushed back the international launch date of the iPad a month and will be available in the UK from May 28. In its basic form the iPad will set consumers back 429 pounds, but the price will soar to 699 pounds for the a 64GB version, which includes both a 3G and Wi-Fi network. Cashing in on the iPad’s already phenomenal success are Vodafone, Orange and O2, who will all be offering mobile data plans for the 3G-enabled UK iPad.