Updating to Android 2.2 (Froyo) for the Impatient

Android-Flavored Froyo is available now - but only for the Nexus One

There’s been lots of buzz on Twitter, TechCrunch, Engadget and everywhere about Nexus One owners beginning to receive the much anticipated “Froyo” release of the Android operating system. Apparently, it’s on a very slow release schedule. For some users, it may take up to three weeks before they receive the update “over the air”. But if you’re an impatient Nexus One owner you can do what I just did and install the upgrade right now! Let’s find out how to do it …

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Posted by George Thiruva - May 22, 2010 at 14:42

Categories: Cell Phones, Handhelds/Smartphones, Software/Apps   Tags: , , , ,

First Thoughts: iPad at 35,000 feet?

The iPad as an In-Flight Entertainment device from Blubox

I just got hit by an eye catching story on Mary Kirby’s Runway Girl Blog regarding the iPad as a platform for In-Flight Entertainment. London based Bluebox Avionix has announced that they will reveal their iPad-based “bluebox Ai” inflight entertainment device at next week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

The high bar in the realm of inflight entertainment was arguably set by Virgin America’s RED system. Virgin America probably invested a lot of time and money designing and developing custom hardware and software to make RED work. They had to – three years ago, when RED was released, there were no viable Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices for such use. Now, with the iPad, the much cheaper Android based Archos tablets, and upcoming tablet offerings from Google/Verizon, HP, JooJoo, and probably many others to arrive soon, there are plenty of choices.

The choice of the iPad for a custom application seems curious to me on a variety of levels. The purpose of the device is largely to provide flyers with in-flight movies, music, web browsing (if the plane is WiFi enabled) and perhaps other diversions. It sounds like a cool idea. But the iPad/iPhone isn’t exactly the most open platform.

Curious, I did a little e-mail chat with Rick Stuart, Managing Director at Bluebox to find out how this’ll work and how the decision was made to go with iPad – as opposed to a competing OS and hardware that might be cheaper (like Android, webOS, Maemo, etc.).
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Posted by George Thiruva - May 13, 2010 at 14:49

Categories: Tablets   Tags: , , ,

The Death Watch for Hard Disk Drive Technology Begins Now (Finally!)

Intel X25-V-SSD

Intel's new "affordable" SSD

Up until now Solid State Disk (SSD) storage was the Porsche 911 of storage technologies – screamingly fast (boot your computer faster than you can read this paragraph), expensive (up to 15X more expensive per gigabyte), and a little tight on the inside for heavy users (not much storage capacity). Now SSD is also more energy efficient than hard disk drive technology (so aside from cost, maybe more like a Chevy Volt)

Within a few recent days of each other, two big names in Solid State Storage (SSD) manufacturing – Intel and OCZ – both announced new, “affordable” SSDs that hover around the magic $100 mark. Additionally, Kingston and Patriot Technologies also have “affordable” SSDs on the market.

And in case you are wondering – there is a reason why I put the word affordable in quotes …

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Posted by Robert Giambitaq - March 17, 2010 at 14:10

Categories: Storage   Tags: , ,

Does the TiVo Premier Really Make the Invention of the DVR Look Like a Warmup?

TiVo QUERTY Remote

The new TiVo Remote with smart phone-like QWERTY Slider Keyboard

It’s been a long time in the making. Three and a half years after TiVo’s last major hardware introduction, TiVo finally announced something new today at their New York City unveiling.

For much of the last month, TiVo watchers have been waiting to see what was coming after images of the press event invitation was leaked, claiming that the invention of the DVR was “just a warmup”.

So, did TiVo succeed in making the late 1990′s invention of the DVR look like a warmup?

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Posted by George Thiruva - March 2, 2010 at 21:00

Categories: DVR   Tags: , , , ,

The Sad History and (maybe) Bright Future of TiVo

TiVo's Outdoor Inflatable at CES

For a company that hasn’t announced a new hardware platform in years, TiVo seems to be all abuzz in recent weeks.

It’s been a long time since TiVo released a major new hardware product – about 3 1/2 years since the last major DVR release, the high definition Series3. Sure, they also released the TiVo HD and HD XL, but those were just variations on the Series3 with no significant new features.

Investors need something to cheer about. For pretty much the last three years, TiVo has been losing subscribers every quarter.

Fans like me were waiting for something new. I speculated on (or rather dreamed about) what might be coming prior to the start of CES. But TiVo disappointed us and announced nothing new at the big show.

But now TiVo looks like it’s waking up from its hibernation and is ready to do something. Oh, but what? …

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Posted by George Thiruva - February 25, 2010 at 13:01

Categories: DVR   Tags: , ,

Sony Shelves OLED TV: Tech Tradgedy in the Making or Learning Opportunity?

Sude View of Original Sony OLED Concept

OK, I don’t own a Sony OLED TV. And at today’s prices and screen sizes I wasn’t going to buy one! Apparently, I’m not alone. So Sony has decided to pull out of the OLED market.

But, with the way that this news came out, the announcement from Sony can only be interpreted as a black mark on OLED technology. That’s too bad, since OLED was the hot topic at the Consumer Electronics Show for the previous two years. And if you’ve seen it, it’s very clearly the best display technology out there – the technology of the future. There are only two reasons why OLED is not the technology of the present – cost and small display size.

But as is with much new technology, things are always expensive when you’re on the cutting edge. LED and plasma is no longer cutting edge technology. LCD is now the mainstream. And to a certain extent, plasma is perceived of as the past.

Plasma and LCD each still hold on to their own benefits. LCD tends to be more energy efficient, inexpensive, and thinner. Plasma tends to offer a better contrast ratio, which many videophiles love.

But to the general market, it was very difficult to explain why OLED is worth a cost premium. Sony, failed to convey the message of OLED as a premium technology.

But more than that, Sony just screwed up. Present cost aside, OLED is better than both LCD and plasma technology.

OLED could (and should) still be the technology of the future. But what could Sony have done differently? And are there any opportunities for Sony’s competitors? …

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Posted by Robert Giambitaq - February 17, 2010 at 22:06

Categories: Television   Tags: , , , , ,

Google/HTC’s Nexus One is only $49 (in a manner of speaking)

Nexus One In Portrait Mode

Would you like to get the Google/HTC Nexus One Superphone for a cool $49?

What if I also threw in the unlocked version of the phone?

Now what if I also said you don’t need to sign a two year contract?

And no – it’s not stolen. Perfectly legit!

How is this possible? Let’s do some math …

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Posted by George Thiruva - February 4, 2010 at 17:59

Categories: Handhelds/Smartphones   Tags: , , , , ,

Google’s Nexus One Sales Model Isn’t Quite the Barrier Buster

Nexus One In Portrait Mode

In the days preceding the release of the Google Nexus One (a.k.a. The long awaited gPhone), the talk of the web was that Google was going to break down some sort of Berlin Wall in the way the phone was sold. Whereas most phones are sold by the wireless carriers in conjunction with a 2 Year jail sentence and are locked to that carrier, Google was (and did) sell the phone both direct to customers, unlocked to a carrier, and without the need to put handcuffs on.

Q. But did it really accomplish that result?

A. Sort of.

Q. Did it shake things up and change the way wireless phones are (and will be) sold?

A. Hopefully, but probably not.

Q. Did the company that pledges to “Do No Evil” really free customers from the tyranny of the wireless carrier oligopoly?

A. Doesn’t seem that way.

Let’s take a look at Google’s cell phone math and see how things really turned out …

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Posted by George Thiruva - February 3, 2010 at 20:53

Categories: Consumer Issues, Handhelds/Smartphones   Tags: , , , , ,

Is Apple Leaving Money on the Table? Part Two

In Part One of this series on Apple, Inc.’s earnings potential, we looked into how Apple was playing in the multi-billion dollar home theater business. Consumer Electronics (not including laptop and desktop computers) is a massive multi-billion dollar a year industry. Apple, of course, made a splash with the iPod and iPhone product lines, but it is conspicuously underplaying its potential role in the living room with the underpowered Apple TV.

And yesterday, Apple delivered better than expected earnings of $3.38 Billion on revenue of $15.68 Billion for their first quarter of FY2010 which ended on December 26 (their financial year is about 3 months and 5 days ahead of the calendar year). “If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it’s surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. It’s kind of a stretch to annualize the Holiday shopping quarter. But if does that keeps up, Apple will soon crack the top 10% of the Fortune 500. They’d be even higher if the Fortune 500 were ranked on earnings instead of revenues.

It’s wonderful news for Apple shareholders. But, I believe it could be even better – perhaps $1 Billion better with very little effort and almost no R&D. So in this part, we’ll take a look at the long forgotten and once failed tactic of licensing the Mac OS to clone manufacturers.

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Posted by George Thiruva - January 26, 2010 at 21:23

Categories: Computing, Personal Computers   Tags: , , , ,

Is Apple Leaving Money on the Table? Part One

Given that Apple makes a fortune, am I serious about that headline? Yes! Really!

And I’m not talking about the Apple Tablet, iSlate, iPad or whatever is coming out on the 27th? I’m talking about tweaks Apple could make to its existing Mac product lines that could very easily juice profits up a little more. And Apple can do it with minimal additional R&D just by doing a couple of rather simple things.

In this part we’ll take a lost profits with their Apple TV and Mac Mini products.

Let’s check it out …

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Posted by George Thiruva - January 22, 2010 at 18:23

Categories: Home Theater, Personal Computers   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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