Facebook’s Photo Syncing is being tested on Android-based devices, according to a new report.
The feature, which automatically uploads images Android users snap from their devices to their Facebook profiles, is being tested on a small number of users, The Verge is reporting, citing comments from Facebook.
Upon snapping a photo with an Android-based handset, Facbeook’s Photo Syncing automatically sends it to a private folder in the user’s account. Those images can then be removed from Facebook or shared publicly, depending on the user’s preference.
Photo Syncing isn’t quite a secret. Facebook currently has a page on its Web site that describes the feature in detail and how it works on user devices. To get it up and running, according to Facebook, users must have the latest version of the social network’s Android app and click the “Sync” option at the bottom of their Photos menu. A total of 2GB of photos can be stored from mobile devices.
It’s not currently clear how many folks have been able to use the feature, but The Verge claims to have spoken to a Facebook spokesperson, who said that the testing is being conducted on a “really small” number of devices.
CNET has contacted Facebook for comment on the testing. We will update this story when we have more information.
The venerable laptop is under assault.
And leading the assault is Apple — which has no qualms about cannibalizing a piece of its own MacBook laptop line with the iPad.
And Apple’s tablets will get even harder to resist in October when it brings out a smaller tablet, probably priced well below $399.
The $199 Google Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fire starting at $199 — or $159 for the original Fire — are making it even harder to fork over $699 for a new laptop.
At the risk of stating the obvious, consumers often opt for the cheaper device if it seems to meet their needs. So, in many cases — just glance at figures from market researchers and Apple itself — they are choosing a tablet instead of a laptop. Or postponing the purchase of a laptop in favor of a tablet impulse-buy.
In response, Microsoft, Intel, and their partners — who are feeling some existential panic — are trying to curb those buying habits by introducing Windows 8 laptops that also function as tablets.
So, here’s my question. Would you forgo a tablet for a laptop with a touch screen?
Or to rephrase the question: though more expensive than a tablet — likely well over $499 — many Windows 8 portables will squeeze a laptop and tablet into one device, potentially obviating the need to buy two devices. Does that seem like the right solution to you?
Apple take note. An Intel executive says everything is going the way of touch.
“Intel has put its money where its conviction is” and invested heavily in touch screens, Rob DeLine, director of Ultrabook product marketing at Intel, said in an interview.
DeLine pointed out that although there are plenty of touch screens that are 10 inches and smaller avaialable, that isn’t the case for larger sizes.
The larger-screen ecosystem “really didn’t exist,” he said. “The ecosystem for 10-inch and below for tablets is pretty mature. So, we’ve made investments to ensure that there is capacity [for larger touch screens].”
Touch screen-related companies that Intel has invested in “to make sure capacity is not an issue” include Cando, HannsTouch, TPK, and Wintek.
And every ultrabook, laptop, all-in-one (AIO) desktop will eventually have some touch capability, DeLine said.
“Every screen in the future is going to have some level of touch. We’re looking for a pretty aggressive ramp” in 2013, he said.
Apple indicated earlier this year that touch isn’t suitable for a MacBook-like device. But Microsoft is pushing PC makers to include this capability on all kinds of Windows 8 computers because of Windows 8′s touch-centric interface.
DeLine also talked about ultrabook pricing.
He pointed to Dell’s $599 ultrabook, the Inspiron 14z and said that a number of ultrabooks priced around $699 can be found on Amazon.
“There will be more and more [models] at $699,” he said.
And what kind of premium will consumers pay for touch? “Touch adds maybe $100,” he said. So, until touch-panel pricing comes down, ultrabooks with that capability will be more expensive.
Microsoft is preparing to release the software development kit for Windows Phone 8 — but only to a select group of developers.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Windows Marketplace chief Todd Brix said Microsoft was starting to accept requests for access to the SDK, which lets app creators tailor their products to the upcoming version of the Windows Phone OS.
However, only the “developers of [the Marketplace's] most-downloaded apps” will get in early, Brix said. As for the rest, they will only get access at the launch of Windows Phone 8 because Microsoft is trying to keep some of the OS’s features secret.
The developers who responded in the post’s comments section were deeply unimpressed at what one termed Microsoft’s “cruel joke.”
Intel is going to kick off the season of the Windows 8 tablet by hosting an event next week attended by virtually all of the major PC players.
The September 27 event will highlight products using Intel’s “Clover Trail” Z2760 (PDF) power-efficient system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor.
“A media event to showcase the latest Intel-based tablet and tablet convertibles, and announce details about the next generation Intel Atom processor (formerly code-named ‘Clover Trail’),” Intel said in a note sent out to journalists.
Intel’s Erik Reid, general manager of Application Processor Platforms in the Mobile and Communications Group, will host the event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Joining him will be executives from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and ZTE, according to Intel. Those companies will showcase new devices.
Tablets and convertibles using the new Intel chip will come with the full version of Windows 8, which can run virtually anything a Windows 7 laptop can. This differs from tablets based on Windows RT: those devices cannot run so-called “legacy” Windows software.
I think those who are predicting Microsoft’s coming Surface PC/tablet hybrids will fail if they don’t beat the iPad on price are wrong. I think the Microsoft Surface will fail if Microsoft fails to prove the devices are premium products worth premium prices.
We still don’t know exactly how Microsoft intends to price the Surface, though CEO Steve Ballmer telling The Seattle Times he considered the “sweet spot” for the PC market to be between $300 and $800. We know Microsoft execs are continuing to insist tablets are PCs. So I guess that means Ballmer believes PC/tablet hybrids like the Surface — or “pablets,” as no one but me calls these things — also should come in between $300 and $800. Keyboards like the Touch and Type keyboard covers for the Surface are probably extra, I’d think.
Ballmer also made it clear to The Seattle Times he isn’t trying to be the price leader with Surface devices. I have to say I’m relieved to hear it. There will likely be more than enough look-alike, same-old Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets competing to be the low-cost leader/loser, I’d bet.
There also seem to be some PC and tablet makers who aren’t thinking about competing on cost — but also don’t seem to have anything much to warrant premium pricing. Microsoft’s original guidance was that it would be pricing Surfaces in line with competitive ARM-based tablets and Intel-based ultrabooks.
ZDNet’s Larry Dignan got his hands on a slide showing Asus’ holiday line-up with its RT tablet coming in at $599 (plus another $199 for keyboard/dock), and its hybrid tab — similar to the Intel-based Surface Pro — coming in at $799 (plus another $199 for keyboard/dock).
Paul Spain, host of the NZ Tech Podcast, got Acer to share its planned pricing for its Iconia W510 Windows 8 tablet — its Surface Pro alternative. It will start at NZ$999 incl tax (NZ$868+tax). “A direct conversion would make this US$712 excluding tax (as the norm for US pricing),” Spain noted. (Spain has more pricing straight from Acer for other Windows 8 hardware, as well.)
I’m not sure if any of the other PC/tablet makers will talk pricing at the upcoming September 27 Intel Clover Trail showcase, but both Acer and Asus — along with Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and ZTE — are all expected to show off their new devices at the San Francisco event.
We’re just about a month away from the day the Surface RT — the version that runs on an ARM chip but that won’t run existing third-party Windows software — will debut. None of us in the tech press have had any real hands-on time with production versions of the device so far. So we don’t really know if the hinges, the touch pads, the keyboards, the casing and all the other components Microsoft execs touted back in June are really as amazing as they looked in the orchestrated demo. None of us has had any real hands-on time with the operating system powering these machines, Windows RT, either.
If the Surface RT works, looks and feels great, I’d be willing to pay more than an iPad for one. I know there are others like me who are tired of having lots of Windows hardware from which to choose — but almost nothing worth splurging on.
Here’s hoping the Surface team — which seems to have as its charter “focusing on building devices and peripherals that fully express the Windows vision” — comes out of the quality gates with a boom.
SAN FRANCISCO — Does Passbook, Apple’s new digital wallet, live up to its lofty expectations?
With the first batch of companies just rolling out integration with the feature, we’re getting the first taste of just how well it works in the wild.
Tonight that’s a baseball game here at AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants face off against the Colorado Rockies, a game we got into using Apple’s newly released wallet technology.
Passbook, which went out today inside of iOS 6, is a new application from Apple designed to store membership cards, tickets, coupons, and boarding passes — a bit like a digital wallet. As an added feature, Passbook does a few things paper and plastic can’t, like alert you to changes, and pop up to be readily accessed based on your location.
For something like a baseball game, all this means is that you don’t need to worry about keeping track of a ticket — just your phone. In practice, this involved me simply clicking an “add to Passbook” link from the ticket confirmation page that was sent to my e-mail in-box.
Unlike Near Field Communications (NFC), a technology that involves location-aware sensors and has become a staple on Android devices, Passbook relies on the places you’re at to scan your iPhone’s screen. At the game this evening, the security that let us in scanned my iPhone just like they would a normal ticket, and we moved on through.
The Giants are one of four teams in the league to make use of Passbook, along with the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, and New York Mets. The Giants were already doing digital ticketing as part of a pilot with ticket seller StubHub. Other companies with launch day Passbook integration include make-up retail store Sephora, StubHub, Fandango, and others.
As it turns out, the process here wasn’t entirely paperless. In order to give Passbook users some sort of proof of purchase, the stadium prints out a paper receipt that you need to hold on to. This is also in place to give those who might have a ticket with extra money on it for buying snacks a way to pay for those things later on in their stay. The stadium also requires those with higher level tickets, to somewhere like the suite levels, to carry an extra paper ticket. But again, this is just the start.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD display is good enough to challenge the pricier Retina iPad’s display and “decisively” beat Google’s Nexus 7, said display testing firm DisplayMate.
In an article posted Wednesday, DisplayMate compared the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD with the third-generation iPad Retina and got a surprising result.
“It is much better than the iPad 2 and almost as good as the new [Retina] iPad in overall picture quality and color accuracy,” wrote Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate.
For example, the Kindle Fire HD has greens and yellows “that are slightly more saturated than the new iPad,” said Soneira. And factory display calibration — necessary to produce a usable image — were both excellent for the Kindle Fire HD and Retina iPad, while Google’s Nexus 7′s was “severely botched,” according to Soneira.
And Soneira had a lot more to say about the 7-inch Nexus 7.
“The Nexus 7 actually has an LCD display that is similar in performance to the Kindle Fire HD, but a poor (and sloppy) factory calibration has degraded its native panel performance. Depending on the display firmware, this may or may not be correctable with a software update,” he said.
He also pointed to a Nexus 7 “bug” that causes an “erratic” variation in screen brightness.
But the Nexus 7 is strong in other areas. For example, color gamut and accuracy. “The new Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus both deliver an impressive 86 percent Standard Color Gamut, a major improvement over almost all previous generation tablets (and smartphones),” he said.
The Retina iPad, however, is out front with “a virtually perfect 99 percent of the Standard Color Gamut,” he said.
Soneira concludes by saying that the “second generation of 7-inch Tablets has resulted in impressive improvements in display quality, now rivaling the top performing and most expensive large format tablets, including the new iPad,” adding that the 7-inch tablets have only about half the screen area of a 10-inch class tablet like the iPad.
Good news for all you Nikon D800 owners who have a third-generation iPad or are about to buy an iPhone 5: the new iPhoto 1.1 iOS app now can handle your 36.3-megapixel images.
iPhoto 1.0 for iOS, or version 1.1 on earlier iPhones and iPods, could handle only 19-megapixel images, which ruled out its use on photos from higher-end cameras such as Canon’s 5D Mark II and Mark III and Sony’s NEX-7.
The support for images up to 36.5 megapixels is one of a slew of features and fixes in the iPhoto 1.1 update released yesterday. The update also tidies up a lot of details such as Facebook interactions, adds new “chalk” and “palette knife” ink effects, imports full-resolution photos using iTunes File Sharing, and changes the angle of tilt-shift and gradient effects. Metadata fans will find improvements in geotagging and in the ability to create tag albums after applying custom tags to photos.
Oh, and now it works on fourth-generation and later iPod Touch devices.
The iPhoto for iOS update is part of a parade of changes emerging as Apple reworks its product line. The company also released iOS 6 and will begin selling its iPhone 5 at stores tomorrow.
Apple also released iPhoto 9.4 and Aperture 3.4 with bug fixes and a better marriage with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, released OS X 10.8.2 with Facebook integration, updated newer MacBooks’ firmware to fix some crash issues, and released OS X 10.7.5 to patch security holes.
Here’s Apple’s full list of updates for iPhoto 1.1 for iOS:
Your face is once again the subject of a patent Apple has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The technology described in the patent, which was first discovered by Patently Apple, isn’t all that different from one that surfaced from the iPhone maker in December, which described a method for users to lock and unlock their handsets with their face. However, the latest technology uses the front-facing camera on a mobile device to determine whether to lock or unlock the product.
According to Patently Apple, the front-facing camera takes rapid snapshots that then translate into an action. If a phone is on but the camera can’t see a person looking at the display, it’ll lock the product. Conversely, if a person picks up the device, the camera will recognize that and unlock it.
To add a bit more flavor to the patent, Apple also describes the use of sensors in a respective device that can determine whether a device should be locked or unlocked. For example, the respective device could sense someone holding it, gripping it, or moving it in some fashion, and then execute a locking or unlocking function.
It’s the face, though, that has proven most appealing to companies. Back in December, in fact, Apple filed for a patent on a technology that would recognize a person’s face and use that as the authentication needed to access user profiles or other important information. Earlier this month, Google was awarded a patent on a technology that will identify a person’s face and deliver full access to personal information.
Face-to-unlock is already available in the wild. The Samsung Galaxy S3, for example, has a face unlock application. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus also comes with the feature and allows people to snap a picture of themselves to unlock their smartphone.