Microsoft Surface RT review

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Last June, a mysterious event invite came out of Microsoft’s Washington HQ. Unlike pretty much every other tech launch in the last two years, we hadn’t seen any major leaks beforehand, although rumours of the launch being for a tablet with Windows 8 (or, according to Mat Honan, a #MSFTaaaaaablet). What the company ultimately unveiled was the Surface, its first piece of Windows-based hardware, in both RT and Pro flavours, the latter of which still hasn’t made it to the UK. In a brave experiment, I have spent the last couple of months using the RT model as my primary computer, and it’s definitely been turning heads. Has this been for good reasons, though? Read on to find out. Continue reading →

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Google Play Store v4.0 for Android leaks, bringing italicised text to Holo

Google Play 4.0

Kellex over at Droid-Life has obtained what is purported to be build 4.0.16 of the Google Play Store for Android, and this gives us our best hint yet of how Matias Duarte and company are planning to take Android’s design with the expected release of Android 5.0, codenamed Key Lime Pie, at Google I/O. In the 6 minute video below, Kellex shows off the functional parts of the new store (with many pages such as the home page not yet working with the new design) but what is evident is that the new version of the Holo design language is set to be a lot lighter and colourful than the black and blue introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2011, with italicised Roboto Light being used in headings for the first time. Contrary to Google Keep, a note-taking service that the company officially launched today with an overdose of yellow, responses to the new look seem overwhelmingly positive, and we will wait with baited breath to see what further UI overhauls Google may announce for Android, now under the reigns of Chrome and Apps head Sundar Pichai, at I/O in May.

Source Droid-Life

First Xbox Live game for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 quietly released

galactic_reign2When Windows Phone 8 was released way back in October last year, much was made of the relationship prospective Windows Phone 8 purchasers would have between their mobile and their PCs. Since then, nothing much to that side of things has materialised, but yesterday that all changed.

Galactic Reign was teased by Microsoft last October, but there was no mention of platforms, nor was there a release date, but yesterday the game quietly slipped into both the Windows 8 Store and the Windows Phone Store as an Xbox Live title. Microsoft used to always announce upcoming Windows Phone games well in advance, but they haven’t done so much of that recently, and it seems crazy that such a huge milestone for the OS was released with so little fanfare, but hey, at least it’s here now.

galactic_reign3As you might have guessed from its name, the game is a sci-fi strategy number. You have to find the right balance between spaceships and weapons and hope your fleet is good enough to beat your opponents, and we won’t go into too much detail here, but there’s a single player mode with 60 challenges and a multiplayer side of things where you battle people online. There a bunch of Xbox achievements to aim for as well.

It’s great to finally see a game which bridges the Windows Phone 8/ Windows 8 divide. With the multiplayer game, you can play with different hardware to your opponent, i.e. it doesn’t matter whether you use a PC, Windows Phone or Surface. Galactic reign will cost $4.99 for Windows 8 or for Windows Phone 7 and 8. The best bit of all? You only need to purchase one version to have access to it on both platforms.

Source: Windows Phone Central

Apple event liveblog: 4″ LTE iPhone 5, 6.1mm thin iPod Touch, widescreen iPod Nano, iTunes 11 and more!

It’s iPhone time again! We’ve been through what we expect from the event, but there’s always the chance that Tim Cook will spring a few surprises on us, so check back here from 1PM EDT/5PM GMT/6PM BST for all the latest news!

All times given are BST. This liveblog has now ended.

16:50 Hello all. I am ready.

16:55 Things should kick off in just over an hour.

17:00 Liveblogging today we have Xavier Voigt-Hill and maybe Henry Hunt.

17:29 Just over half an hour to go now. What do we all want tonight?

17:44 Nobody’s inside the Yerba Buena Center yet, so things might be a bit late.

17:50 Theoretically my internet connection could be faster, but Community needs to download. Community > iPhone.

17:52 And everyone is inside! This could start on time after all.

17:56 My mouse is dying, but I will plod on.

17:59 About to get going…

18:00 And here’s Tim Cook!

18:01 Introducing the Barcelona Apple Store.

18:03 Video of more Apple Stores selling more stuff.

18:05 Now Tim is talking Mac and Mountain Lion.

18:06 7 million Mountain Lion upgrades so far.

18:07 Now onto the iPad.

18:08 17 million iPads sold April to June. Last year Apple had 62% tablet marketshare.

18:09 That figure is now 68%. iPads count for 91% of all tablet web traffic.

18:10 700k apps in the App Store. 250,000 designed for iPad.

18:12 400 million iOS devices sold up to June.

18:13 Phil Schiller is here to talk iPhone.

18:13 ‘Today we’re introducing iPhone 5.’

18:14 It rose out of the stage. It’s rotating. It’s tall. It looks leaked.

18:15 Entirely glass and aluminium. It is the thinnest and lightest iPhone at 7.6mm. The world’s thinnest smartphone. Eat that Razr.

18:17 1136 x 640 4″ display, as rumoured. 326ppi.

18:18 Why did Apple do this? So you can see more emails. I DON’T WANT TO SEE MY EMAILS.

18:19 Black bars on either side for existing apps that haven’t been updated for the 16:9 screen.

18:20 The display looks better apparently. Perfect aspect ratio for video and 44% more saturation.
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18:21 HSPA+ and LTE. Single chip for voice, data and radio.

18:22 LTE for Sprint, Verizon and AT&T in the US, Rogers, Telus and Bell in Canada. EE in the UK!

18:25 A6 chip has 2x faster CPU and 2x faster graphics than A5.

18:27 Rob Murray from Firemonkeys is showing off Real Racing 3.

18:30 Longer battery life than the 4S.

18:31 There’s a sapphire crystal in the 8MP camera. Why the fuck not?

18:33 A photo from the camera. It looks awesome.
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18:34 Built-in panorama mode lets you take 28MP images.

18:37 New dock connector is very small. 3 microphones for noise cancellation. 720p FaceTime HD camera on the front.

18:38 80% smaller ‘Lightning’ dock connector. It’s reversible and durable.

18:41 Here’s a dock connector adapter. This thing is tiny.
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18:42 Scott Forstall on stage with iOS 6. Not much new to see here.

18:43 Demoing the new non-Google maps. We’ve already looked at what this all means.

18:44 You can tap to tweet or share on Facebook in Notification Center. Fullscreen mode in Safari too.

18:47 Now Forstall is showing off Passbook and Siri stuff. No sign of NFC though.

18:51 My internet just died, but I’m alive. Siri can tell you sports scores, good movies and Facebook for you.

18:53 And now we are wrapping up with a Jony Ive video. It comes in white too.
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18:54 Bob Mansfield is doing the Bob Mansfield and talking about internals.
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18:59 American contract pricing is the same. 16GB = $199, 32GB = $299, 64GB = $399. iPhone 4 is now free on contract. 16GB 4S is $99. Pre-order Friday for the September 21st launch.

19:02 iOS 6 coming to iPhone 4 and later on September 19th for free. iPod Touch 4th generation is included in this.

19:03 Let’s talk about iTunes. New look store with Facebook EVERYWHERE.

19:06 iTunes 11 is coming too. It looks fantastic.
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19:11 New mini player looks great too.
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19:14 iCloud is now built into iTunes for syncing film positions and stuff.

19:15 New iTunes coming October for Mac and PC.

19:16 New iPod Nano is 38% thinner at 5.4mm and has a widescreen multitouch display, physical buttons and a Lightning connector. And a home button.
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19:26 The 5th generation iPod Touch is 6.1mm, 88g and has the same display as the iPhone 5. It also has the A5 chip. YOu get 40 hours of music from the battery.
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19:28 5MP rear iSight camera actually takes good photos. I might need one of these things.

19:29 iPod Touch Loop now…

19:30 Push something on the bottom and a lanyard strap holder thing appears, like on cameras and some phones.

19:31 720p FaceTime HD camera and Bluetooth 4.0, just like the iPhone 5. AirPlay mirroring is also coming to iPod.

19:32 Siri is also coming to the new iPod Touch!

19:33 Five colour choices too, each with its own loop thing.

19:34 Shut up and take my money and give me an orange one!

19:34 These are white, black, cyan, yellow and red. I want the cyan.
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19:34 New EarPods. They’re futuristic earbuds that have taken 3 years to design.
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19:38 iPod pricing. New ones are coming in October.
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19:41 High resolution iPhone 5 for you via TNW. Click for a bigger view.

19:42 And that’s that. Playing us out are the Foo Fighters.

19:45 To follow Apple’s lead, here are the Foo Fighters.

19:47 That wraps things up. It’s been a massive night, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Goodnight!

Is Siri any good?

One of the major selling points of Apple’s new iPhone is Siri, the voice activated digital personal assistant. It can read and write messages  for you, play songs at your request, give you directions in the USA and understand not just your words but what you mean as well. But Siri is known on the internet not for its functionality but for its hilarity. To see whether it actually worked and whether the iPhone 4S is a worthy upgrade Henry and I took a trip to the Apple Store. Watch our findings below.