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By Paul Miller posted Jan 11th 2011 11:06AM

We’ve waited and waited, and now Apple and Verizon have made a million dreams come true: the iPhone is coming to Big Red. After talking up his new LTE network a bit, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed a CDMA (non-LTE) version of the iPhone 4 is coming to Verizon Wireless next month. Talks started way back in 2008, and the phone has been in testing for a year — it sounds like they wanted to get this one right. Current Verizon customers will be able to pre-order on Feburary 3rd for the standard $200 price for the 16GB model on a two year agreement, $300 for the 32GB version — everyone else can order on February 10th (see it compared with AT&T’s iPhone 4). Just to clarify and put any wild rumors to bed, the phone is Verizon 3G (EV-DO) only, no 4G data or GSM roaming. It’s not a world phone or an AT&T + Verizon phone, it’s just a Verizon phone.

Outside of Verizon connectivity, the phone is basically unchanged, although Verizon’s CDMA network doesn’t support simultaneous voice and data as with the GSM version. It does have the new antenna design we were hearing about last week, but that’s just because CMDA requires a different configuration of antennas. (Apple says they didn’t go LTE just yet because first-gen chipsets would force unwanted design decisions, and customers want a Verizon device now.) That slight modification also equates to a slight bump in where the volume buttons and mute switch — a new case might be required. Software-wise the big innovation is five user WiFi hotspot functionality, something that’s standard on Android phones, while Apple has kept the iPhone only able to tether directly to one computer.

Check out our full hands-on with the Verizon iPhone right here, and stay tuned — we’ve got lots more coming up.

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By Paul Miller posted Jun 7th 2010 1:35PM

Apple has unveiled its new iPhone 4 after a couple wild, unprecedented months of leaks. Sure, it looks exactly like we expected it to (Steve compares it to an old Leica camera), with a glass front and back, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, kids. The stainless steel band that goes around the phone is an antenna system, while also providing the main structure of the phone, though it’s plugged into the same old GSM / UMTS radio you all know and love — there’s a reason they didn’t call it the iPhone 4G. There’s also of course that front facing camera we were all anticipating, a rear camera with LED flash, and a new high resolution display that doubles the pixels in each direction (960 x 640) for a 4X overall pixel count increase — Apple calls it a “Retina Display.” It’s rated at 326ppi, which Apple claims is beyond the human eye’s limit of distinction. Check out an example of the new screen up against the iPhone 3G after the break. Similar to the iPad, it’s an IPS display, offering 800:1 contrast. Naturally, it’s still the same old 3.5-inch size. Under the hood is the A4 processor that runs the iPad. Despite the new engine (and the 25% thinner chassis), Apple managed to make the battery slightly larger, and the new handset is rated at 7 hours of 3G talk, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video, and 40 hours of music. Oh, and that WiFi? It’s 802.11n now. The camera has been bumped to 5 megapixels, with 5X digital zoom and a “backside illuminated sensor,” which now can also record HD video at 720p / 30fps.

On the software front, applications will automatically get high resolution text and buttons as part of iOS 4 (the OS previously known as iPhone OS 4), and with “a little bit of work” developers can make their entire app compatible with the new resolution display. Developers will also get access to a new gyroscope, giving devs “six axis” motion control between the gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass, with a new “Core Motion” API to deal with it all. Users won’t be left out in the cold, however: they can mess around with that new HD video using a brand new iMovie app, if they shell out $4.99 for it. If anyone’s feeling particularly frisky, iOS 4 even lets you switch your default search provider to Bing. Last but certainly not least, that new front camera is enabled for video chat using the new “FaceTime” feature. It’s a WiFi-only (for now) video calling feature that works from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 with “no setup” involved, and can flip over to the rear camera if your grandparents get tired of your face.

The phone will be available in white or black, retailing at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for 32GB. They go on sale June 24th, and AT&T will be giving some extra grace upgrade timing — up to six months early. The 3GS will be dropped to $99 and the 3G will disappear completely. Pre-orders start in a week, with 5 countries at launch (US, France, Germany, UK, Japan), with 18 more following in July. Apple will also be selling a first party case for $29, and a dock for the same price. PR is after the break, promo videos can be found here, and we got hands-on right here.

By Nilay Patel posted May 24th 2010 6:04PM

We never had any doubt that Comcast’s anti-net-neutrality court victory would prove to be more of a defeat in the long run, and that’s exactly how it’s shaping up: some 74 Democratic members of Congress have voiced concerns about the FCC’s plan to re-classify broadband as a more highly-regulated “telecommunications service” instead of as an “information service” in letter sent to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski today, and a group of Democratic senators and representatives are planning a series of meetings in June with the goal of revamping US telecommunications law in general. According to Senate staffers who spoke to the Washington Post, the idea isn’t to pre-empt the FCC’s plan, but rather to bring the law into alignment with the modern market instead of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole — our current telecom law was enacted in 1996 and is based on law written in 1934, so a more modern revamp could bring sweeping changes to the way broadband providers are able to sell and manage their services.

We don’t know what the specific agenda is yet, but we’d bet the FCC’s recent finding that there’s no “effective competition” in the wireless industry is sure to play a big part in these discussions, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see some serious talk about cable providers and set-top hardware as well. Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on these meetings — this is the first time we’ve seen the government take up the issue of modern telecommunications policy with this level of interest and momentum, and we’ve got a feeling some big things are afoot.

sourceReuters, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, US Senate

By Darren Murph posted May 24th 2010 7:29AM

Sony’s never been one to craft a “low-cost laptop,” and even the company’s minuscule VAIO W netbook remains one of the most expensive in the sector. But this, friends, might just be one worth the premium. Announced over in Australia, the limited edition VAIO W you’re peering at above has been designed in partnership with Billabong, and the Imperial Lime lid is certainly the primary selling point. Expected to ship Down Under next month, the 10.1-inch machine will be outfitted with a 1.83GHz Intel Atom N470 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 1,366 x 768 resolution panel, Windows 7 Starter and a GPU that’s incapable of handling 1080p material. You’ll also find an Ethernet jack, a pair of USB 2.0 sockets, built-in webcam and a 250GB hard drive, but none of those ho hum specs help to justify the AU$749 ($619) price tag. The lid, on the other hand

sourceSony Insider

By Joseph L. Flatley posted May 23rd 2010 10:41PM

When looking for a cheap, reliable way to track gestures, Robert Wang and Jovan Popovic of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory came upon this notion: why not paint the operator’s hands (or better yet, his Lycra gloves) in a manner that will allow the computer to differentiate between different parts of the hand, and differentiate between the hand and the background? Starting with something that Howie Mandel might have worn in the 80s, the researchers are able to use a simple webcam to track the hands’ locations and gestures — with relatively little lag. The glove itself is split into twenty patches made up of ten different colors, and while there’s no telling when this technology will be available for consumers, something tells us that when it does become available it’ll be very hard not to notice. Video after the break.

Update: Just received a nice letter from Rob Wang, who points out that his website is the place to see more videos, get more info, and — if you’re lucky — one day download the APIs so you can try it yourself. What are you waiting for?

By Nilay Patel posted May 21st 2010 5:56PM

Google made some waves yesterday when it announced the new Google TV platform, backed by major players like Sony, Logitech, Intel, Dish Network, and Best Buy. Built on Android and featuring the Chrome browser with a full version of Flash Player 10.1, Google TV is supposed to bring “the web to your TV and your TV to the web,” in Google’s words. It’s a lofty goal that many have failed to accomplish, but Google certainly has the money and muscle to pull it off. But hold up: what is Google TV, exactly, and why do all these companies think it’s going to revolutionize the way we watch TV? Let’s take a quick walk through the platform and see what’s what.

By Richard Lawler posted May 21st 2010 1:40PM

The Google TV has landed and is already sending ripples through the marketplace, but what about all the companies already blending internet and TV? Whether they are already planning to work with the new initiative (Rovi), even more firmly staking a claim on their existing technology and vision for the connected TV (Microsoft, Yahoo), sounding like it’s an option for the future (Samsung, VIZIO, Boxee) or already working on their own Android on TV projects (People of Lava, MIPS) each one should tell a little bit about where this market is headed in the coming months and years. Read on for their statements — and a quick breakdown of what each is bringing to the table in case you weren’t already running a network cable to your HDTV years ago.

By Vladislav Savov posted May 19th 2010 9:43AM

You’ll remember the TX5 as Sony’s do-it-all solution for compact camera fans. It aims to be both stylish — with a slender 0.7-inch profile and a 3-inch touchscreen — and rugged, thanks to a metal frame that makes it impervious to water, dust and sub-zero conditions. Throw in the backlit Exmor R CMOS sensor, optical image stabilization, SDHC compatibility, and 720p movie mode and you’ve got a pretty fearsome paper tiger on your hands. But does it roar in reality? According to Photography Blog, you won’t be getting the finest image quality around, but the TX5 impressed with some terrific high ISO performance, excellent handling of chromatic aberrations, and a versatility that allows you to take photos you might not otherwise get to with more conventional shooters. That is an opinion broadly shared by CNET, though both reviewers agreed that pricing will be a tough pill to swallow given that this is still just a 10 megapixel point-and-shoot. Hit the sources for more or mosey on past the break for a sample video. [Video Here]

By Darren Murph posted May 19th 2010 9:00AM

Whoa there, vaquero — don’t get too excited just yet. As with just about every other gratis backup service on the web, there’s a catch you should know about with mSpot‘s latest endeavor. The free limit is right around 2GB (exact size is TBD), so if you’ve got more than a second generation iPod’s worth of audio, this here service will only serve as a tease. For those who fall under that threshold, there’s plenty to love, and if you’re down for ponying up, you’ll be able to secure 10GB for $2.99 per month or 20GB for $4.99 per month. Launched today at Google I/O, this “freemium” music cloud service essentially syncs your entire music library (either in iTunes or a user-designated arrangement of folders) with mSpot’s servers — provided your library is less than 20GB, of course — and then makes it available anywhere. Phones and other computers should have no issue tapping in (though only Android will be supported out of the gate), and the app itself runs quietly in the background in order to check for new additions / subtractions and mirror said changes in your online library. For now, the service is available by invitation only through mspot.com, with public availability slated for next month. Size limits aside, the service worked well for us in our limited testing, though that first 20GB upload is a real pain over Time Warner Cable’s obviously capped Road Runner internet. Oh, and if you’re bummed about not being guaranteed an invite today, you shouldn’t be. Hit that source link and enter “engadget” as the password — the first 500 get immediate access, but once they’re gone, they’re gone.

*20GB tops, buster!
**Only on Android, Macs and PCs at first, chief!

By Thomas Ricker posted May 19th 2010 4:44AM

Get ready to rumble, the latest Gartner and IDC smartphone numbers are out to give us a pretty good idea of how things shape up globally. Remember, IDC measures vendor shipments while Gartner measures actual handset sales to end users. So what does the data tell us? Well, to start with, in terms of smartphone devices, Gartner claims a 48.7% increase in smartphone sales of 54.3 million units in Q1 2010 compared to Q1 2009 — IDC pegs growth at 56.7% on 54.7 million units for the same period. Both estimates easily outpace the 17% or 21.7% growth in worldwide units of mobile phones moved according to Gartner and IDC, respectively. [Keep Reading]