TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

New Gadgets

  • DirecTV Genie whole-home DVR review

    directvgenieh1md TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    We’re very happy that 2012 ended up being the year of whole-home DVRs. We reviewed Dish Network’s Hopper earlier this year and now we’ve spent some quality time with DirecTV’s Genie — can’t say we expected the cute names. Capable of serving up to eight rooms in your house (but only four at once), the Genie system works with a variety of setups, including being built into some newer Samsung TVs. Only available as part of DirecTV service, the Genie can be had for free by some new DirecTV customers who are willing to sign a term agreement and select the right package, and available to existing customers as an upgrade for $300 depending on the circumstances. If DirecTV didn’t already have you at five tuners, 1TB and up to eight rooms, then click through for a full rundown on the latest the original direct satellite broadcast TV provider has to offer.

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  • Hands-on with Jolla’s Sailfish OS (video)

    jollasailfishhandsonlead01 TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    We recently had the chance to spend time with David Greaves and Vesa-Matti Hartikainen of Jolla and take Sailfish OS for a spin. As you might recall, this open source mobile OS builds upon Mer (a fork of MeeGo that includes Qt) and uses the Nemo framework with a custom UI. Like any decent Linux-based OS, it supports both ARM and x86 devices. The company is also behind the Sailfish SDK which is in the process of being finalized but is still open to developer feedback (the source code is available). After seeing Jolla’s various demo videos and noting some UI similarities with MeeGo (swipes) and, strangely, with BB10 (peek gestures), we were eager to experience Sailfish OS for ourselves.

    If you’re wondering why the mobile OS is usually shown running on Nokia’s N950 developer handset, that’s because Jolla employs many ex-MeeGo engineers, so the OMAP-based phone was a natural fit. We were first given a walkthrough of Sailfish OS, then allowed to play with it. Many apps are still being worked on and some are still off-limits (we got in trouble for launching the camera), but what we saw was pretty solid. Take a look at the gallery below, then hit the break for our hands-on video and first impressions.

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  • ITC Judge recommends Samsung post 88 percent value bond, import bans in Apple patent case

    apple iphone design patent TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    If you’re keeping track of the multiple, and let’s face it, tiresome Samsung / Apple patent debacle, a document that just turned up at the ITC might spell more trouble for the Korean manufacturer. It’s a publicly redacted version of Judge Pender’s recommendations, and pertains to the October ruling that deemed Samsung borrowed four of Cupertino’s designs. The most iconic being design patent D618,678 (that which you see above). The others include multi-touch patent 7,479,949 (which was tentatively invalidated) along with two other patents (RE41,922 and 7,912,501) relating to graphic display elements and audio hardware detection. If the recommendations are adopted — and FOSS Patents suggests this is entirely possible — Samsung could face a US import ban after a 60 day presidential review, an order prohibiting “significant” sales of infringing products in America along with a posting a bond for 88 percent of the entered value of mobile phones (plus 32.5 percent for media players and 37.6 percent for tablets) that include the breaching design features. Pender has, however, reportedly cleared several Samsung “designarounds” which, if implemented to satisfaction, would mean the tech giant could continue trading. For now though, the recommendations are awaiting the Commission’s review.

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    Via: FOSS Patents

    Source: ITC (Doc ID 500118)

  • Samsung offers free flip covers and TecTiles for GS III and Note II device registrations

    samsungflipcoverandtectiles TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    If you just received a Galaxy S III or a Note II this holiday season, you could do yourself a favor and register it on Samsung’s Facebook page to get even more goodies from Santa Sammy. What do you get in exchange for handing over some personal details and giving the Korean company access to your timeline? Why, a free flip cover and six TecTiles, which usually go for about $15 for a pack of five. We haven’t heard much about wide adoption of these programmable NFC tags, but maybe it’ll gain some traction after a recent 3.0 app update and this promotional giveaway. We’re not sure why the offer doesn’t extend to other Samsung phones, but maybe they just don’t have enough of those pastel covers to go around.

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    Via: Android Central

    Source: Facebook (Samsung)

  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix swings through the FCC with AT&T-native LTE

    lenovo thinkpad helix att fcc TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    There have been doubts that Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix would ever arrive in the US, with even the past FCC appearance of a WiFi-only version offering no guarantees. An American launch now seems considerably more likely in the wake of a follow-up FCC approval. The dockable, 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet has popped up carrying LTE both on an AT&T-specific 700MHz band and AT&T-friendly AWS (1,700MHz and 2,100MHz) bands — with such explicit network support, we’ll be surprised if it doesn’t reach US shores. Little else is available in the filing that we don’t already know, although it’s clear that there’s no real cellular access for Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. We’d just like to know if and when Lenovo is ready to make the ThinkPad Helix official for this side of the world and give the upcoming IdeaTab Lynx some company.

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    Source: FCC

  • Xbox Live outage temporarily disconnecting cloud storage for some users

    01dsc01552 TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    Microsoft added a cloud storage feature to the Xbox 360 in its fall 2011 dashboard update, but today an outage has taken it offline for the last several hours and counting. As noted by Joystiq, trying to access your cloud saves is resulting in a 0x807b0198 error for many, although other parts of XBL like streaming video services and multiplayer gaming profiles are unaffected. For the moment, we were able to copy/move some of our saves from the cloud cache on our hard drive (Settings –> storage –> cloud storage) to the normal hard drive section, and access them from there. Your mileage may vary, but otherwise you’ll just need to keep an eye out the XBL dashboard status page to see when things are back to normal. There’s no word yet on when it will be fully restored, but a message there says engineers are working on a fix. We’re not missing the old “gamertag recovery” feature the cloud system replaced and upgraded, but any significant outage is certainly enough to make us think about keeping our saves backed up on a memory card in a safe place — just in case.

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    Via: Joystiq

    Source: Xbox Live status

  • FCC streamlines rules for aircraft broadband, promotes widespread in-flight WiFi

    fcc wifi TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order today that updated regulatory requirements needed to provide broadband services on aircraft. In short, the commission has designated Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft — the broadband modules placed on the exterior of aircraft — as a licensed application and established a set regulatory process for future providers. What this means is that airlines will be able to select FCC-approved systems, verify that systems don’t interfere with aircraft instruments, and obtain FAA approval in about half the time it takes now. The new FCC guidelines should make it easier for smaller airlines to install WiFi on their jets, allowing them to catch up to legacy carriers with nearly fleetwide internet access. This news might also be a mixed blessing for frequent flyers, some of whom see flying as the last bastion of peace in an otherwise connected world.

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    Source: Federal Communications Commission

  • Pearson buys a small stake in Nook Media, wants a fast track for digital education

    pearson hearts nook media TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    Publishers often want to work closely with e-book outlets — possibly a little too closely — but it’s rare that they involve themselves directly. Pearson is taking that uncommon step by making a 5 percent, $89.5 million investment in Nook Media, the joint venture between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft. Some of the reasoning won’t be made public until Barnes & Noble provides holiday sales results on January 3rd, but Pearson is clear that it’s furthering its online education plans: it wants Nook Media’s distribution skills to make a “seamless and effective experience for students.” Just when we’ll see this harmony is still up in the air, though. Nook Media has yet to outline what Microsoft’s partnership means for e-books and e-readers, let alone how Pearson factors in. We’re not expecting a sea change until companies start speaking up.

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    Source: PaidContent

  • The Daily Roundup for 12.28.2012

    dailyroundup4 TECHPULSE December 29, 2012

    You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

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