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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Engadget News


Engadget News

Netflix is looking for a new Chief Marketing Officer, if you think you can do better

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 09:42 AM PST

Considering how 2011 progressed for Netflix, it's not entirely surprising to hear some changes are in store at the top when it comes to marketing and communications. The video rental giant announced that its Chief Marketing Officer of the last dozen years, Leslie Kilgore, will be taking a position on its board as a "non-executive director", replaced in the interim by Jessie Becker as it conducts an external search for a permanent replacement. Also shifting positions is Jonathan Friedland who will be the new Chief Communications officer, and both Becker and Friedland will report directly to CEO Reed Hastings. Netflix's relationships with its customers were definitely damaged by last year's price hike and the shocking Qwikster spinoff announcement / unannouncement that followed, with a slate of original content on the way and some changes in store for its content licensing, we'll see if it can get the magic back in 2012 -- we're not so sure that the latest round of ads featuring beavers and hamsters (one's embedded after the break) are the way.

Show full PR text
Netflix Announces Management Changes

LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 20 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) today announced Leslie Kilgore, its Chief Marketing Officer for the last 12 years, will join the Netflix board as a non-executive director and that it had appointed Jessie Becker, interim Chief Marketing Officer and Jonathan Friedland, Chief Communications Officer.

"Leslie has been instrumental in our long-term success and our recent return to solid growth," said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO. "We are delighted she is joining our board of directors and will continue to be a key part of Netflix."

Ms. Kilgore joined Netflix in 2000 as CMO after holding various positions at Amazon.com, Procter & Gamble and Booz Allen and Hamilton. Ms. Kilgore, who has an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania/ Wharton School of Business, also serves as a director at LinkedIn Corporation.

An 11-year Netflix veteran, Ms. Becker has most recently been Vice President, Marketing, in charge of a variety of acquisition channels. Previously, she held positions at Amazon.com and Oracle Corp. Ms. Becker has an MBA from Stanford University and a BA and BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School of Business.

Mr. Friedland joined Netflix in February 2011 from The Walt Disney Company, where he was SVP, Corporate Communications. Before that, he spent over 20 years as a foreign correspondent and editor, mainly with The Wall Street Journal, in the U.S., Asia and Latin America and co-founded the Diarios Rumbo chain of Spanish-language newspapers in Texas. Mr. Friedland, who has a MSc. Economics from the London School of Economics and a BA from Hampshire College, was a member of the WSJ team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 9/11 attacks.

Ms. Becker and Mr. Friedland will report to Mr. Hastings. During the coming months, Netflix will also conduct an external search for a new CMO.

About Netflix:

With more than 20 million streaming members in the Americas, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is the world's leading internet subscription service for enjoying films and TV programmes. For about US$7.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited films and TV episodes streamed over the internet to PCs, Macs and TVs. Among the large and expanding base of devices streaming from Netflix are the Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3 consoles; an array of Blu-ray disc players, internet-connectedTVs, home theatre systems, digital video recorders and internet video players; Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Apple TV and Google TV. In all, more than 700 devices that stream from Netflix are available. For additional information, visit www.netflix.com. Follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Netflix, Inc.

Another one bites the dust as Google closes Picnik

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 08:33 AM PST

Given the spate of closures, abandonments and wound-up projects, we can't help but suspect Google's mantra switching from "don't be evil" to "sic transit gloria mundi." Mountain View's winding up online-image editing site Picnik in preparation for integration with Google+, joining Wave, Knol, Friend Connect, Gears, Health, Powermeter and at least ten other services that have been shuttered as part of Larry Page's "spring clean." In a statement on the site, the guys are moving over to the Google+ team to "focus on even awesomer things," so expect to see live-editing of your photos appear there before the end of summer. In the meantime, you can enjoy Picnik's premium service until the doors close on April 19th and those who previously stumped up (with, you know, cash) for the added features will receive a full refund.

[Thanks, Henry]

HDNet joins up with AEG, CAA and Ryan Seacrest to become AXS TV this summer

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 07:37 AM PST

It held on as long as it could, but HDNet is following the path of INHD (which became Mojo before disappearing entirely) and Discovery HD Theater (now Velocity) by rebranding itself, and will see morph into AXS TV this summer. Of course, HDNet has always focused on "lifestyle programming" and from the looks of it the new channel (pronounced: access) will be very similar, at least for now. HDNet is bringing programming like HDNet Fights, Dan Rather Reports, its concerts and more to the joint venture, which will be combined with its partners AEG, CAA and Ryan Seacrest Media. If HDNet is currently on your programming lineup AXS TV will simply take its place when it launches, and Dish Network actually plans to increase the channel's distribution by adding it to the America's Top 120 package. If you're distressed over the future of Art Mann Presents, check out the press release after the break or a Q&A on the site for more information about what's happening to Mark Cuban's baby.
Show full PR text
Beginning Summer 2012, AXS TV Will Deliver a Full Schedule of Live Entertainment and Lifestyle Programming to More Than 35 Million Homes Across North America

LOS ANGELES (January 18, 2012) – HDNet, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) today announced a joint venture that will rebrand HDNet/HDNet Canada to launch AXS TV (pronounced: access). Scheduled to debut this summer, AXS TV will leverage the global reach and portfolio of content opportunities of its partners to create live entertainment and lifestyle programming. Capitalizing on AEG's unrivaled presence in live events and affiliation with more than 100 of the industry's pre-eminent venues worldwide, AXS TV will provide viewers with exclusive behind-the-scenes access to live concerts and music festivals, red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events, and in-depth interviews with the people and artists who make live entertainment so uniquely fascinating.

HDNet's signature programming including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, award-winning Dan Rather Reports, Sunday concert series, and select non-scripted series will continue on AXS TV.

As part of their agreement with the joint venture, DISH will offer a variety of unique music services to their subscribers.

"I'm incredibly excited to be in business with AEG, Ryan Seacrest, and CAA," said Mark Cuban, Co-Founder and Chairman, HDNet. "This is a major step on our way to offering more live programming than any other entertainment and lifestyle network. And our partnership with DISH to offer unique subscriber services will allow AXS TV to change the value proposition between networks, distributors, and subscribers. AXS TV will unquestionably be able to leverage our unique assets to do things no other network will be able to replicate."

With production facilities at AEG's owned and operated L.A. LIVE (which includes venues such as STAPLES Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Club Nokia and The GRAMMY Museum's Clive Davis Theater), as well as their access to their worldwide network of the busiest venues of all sizes, AXS TV will have the inside track to programming that will connect audiences with the complete live experience. From show creation and development to rehearsals, sound-check and performance and right thru the after-party, viewers will get an immersive look into their favorite acts touring today, AXS TV will span the globe to bring viewers the best live entertainment events.

AEG is very pleased to be involved with Mark Cuban and HDNet and equally as proud to have partners like Ryan Seacrest Media and CAA," said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG. "The live business continues to grow and expand and the ability to give fans the opportunity to experience live in a different way is something we have been looking for a way to do for years."

"As part of a point of emanation for content, we are excited to provide the resources of L.A. LIVE, the O2 and our London campus among the many assets we are bringing into the partnership. In addition, we are excited that AXS TV will have a host studio at L.A. LIVE. This is a natural tie-in for our ticketing platform, axs Ticketing, as well as our facilities around the world.

This is a platform for all agents, all promoters and all managers. It is not the creation of an AEG channel. It is about the fans and bringing the live experience to them," Leiweke added.

Representatives of the joint venture also announced that DISH, the nation's third largest pay-TV provider, has agreed to expand its carriage of the rebranded HDNet by offering it in the America's Top 120 programming package, bringing millions more DISH customers access to the rebranded channel and resulting in AXS TV reaching well over 35 million North American households.

In addition to the increased distribution of the re-branded network, DISH will begin offering a large selection of AXS-branded Video On Demand concerts starting on March 15, 2012. Capitalizing on AEG's unrivaled presence in the promotion of live events and nationwide network of clubs, DISH will work with AEG to offer unique ticketing opportunities for DISH viewers of AXS TV. Amenities include special ticketing opportunities, premium seating, private viewing areas and food & beverage specials. Starting August 1, 2012, DISH and AXS TV will launch AXS Headliner Club, an online audition site providing local bands and musicians the opportunity to audition to perform at an AEG-affiliated club or theater.

"AXS TV brings DISH subscribers a premier TV destination for concert-goers to watch the most popular concert acts and provide opportunities for unique ticket sales at venues near them," said Joe Clayton, CEO, DISH. "The new DISH is all about 'more music, more movies, and more magic.' So, we're pleased to provide a majority of our subscribers front row seats to this innovative channel."

AXS TV will continue to be available on HDNet's existing distributors including DIRECTV, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, NCTC-member systems, Suddenlink and Shaw (in Canada).

Ryan Seacrest Media holds an ownership stake in AXS TV, and will provide access to multi-media platforms, and celebrity and brand relationships, as well as assist in the corporate brand development for AXS TV. As part of the deal, Ryan Seacrest Productions, an independent entertainment production company, will also develop and produce programming for AXS TV.

"Over the last year, we've been diligently working with our partners AEG and CAA to strategize and explore how we could deliver quality live entertainment and lifestyle programming to a large audience. HDNet is the perfect partner to help us translate our vision into a reality, giving us an instant reach into 35 million homes when we rebrand the channel and launch AXS TV," said Ryan Seacrest. "Mark Cuban and Tim Leiweke bring a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial experience and spirit to this venture, and I'm confident our collective collaboration will make AXS a success," he added.

CAA will access its extensive experience, expertise, and relationships in entertainment to help create valuable content relationships for the network and provide strategic advisory services in the areas of corporate development, marketing, technology, and brand integration and sponsorship, among others. Seacrest is represented by CAA.

"We have worked closely with AEG and Ryan Seacrest to conceptualize a new network that could benefit from our combined resources and create a new distribution opportunity for artists and content creators and their high-quality entertainment and lifestyle programming," said David O'Connor, Managing Partner, CAA. "Mark Cuban and his HDNet make a terrific partner for this venture, and we look forward to joining forces to help build AXS into a premier cable destination for entertainment enthusiasts."

Financial terms of the new venture were not disclosed.

For more information, see the AXS TV Press Background Q and A.

HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and thought-provoking content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

HDNet is the exclusive, high definition home for innovative, original programming, including the network's Emmy Award winning HD news feature programs, "HDNet World Report," and "Dan Rather Reports," featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather. HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning documentaries.

HDNet is your home for MMA, featuring the best of Mixed Martial Arts with its Friday night series, "HDNet Fights" (www.hdnetfights.com). HDNet's "Inside MMA" is the hottest Mixed Martial Arts program on television, giving fans their weekly fix for everything MMA.

HDNet also delivers the world's largest and most diverse concert line-up through the HDNet Concert Series. The HDNet Concert Series features leading artists and bands including Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, John Mayer, Nickelback and more. HDNet also distributes HDNet Movies (www.hdnetmovies.com) featuring exclusive Sneak Previews of new movies before they hit theaters. The HDNet Movies Sneak Preview series features top Hollywood stars in critically-acclaimed performances including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joaquin Phoenix, Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Vera Farmiga, Parker Posey, Brian Cox, Matthew Broderick, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.

In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, HDNet Movies viewers enjoy the best films from the classics of the 1950s-1970s, to favorite films from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films. During the daytime, HDNet Movies kidScene is a special, daily block of kid-friendly programming, running from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, dedicated to entertaining and enlightening kids from the ages of 5 to 10 years old without commercial interruption. From animation to adventure, HDNet Movies kidScene brings you all the best movies with one thing in mind: KIDS.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available in the U.S. via AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS and in Canada via Access Communications, Cogeco, Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct.

About AEG
AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, owns or is affiliated with a collection of companies including over 100 of the world's preeminent facilities such as STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, CA), The Home Depot Center (Carson, CA), Best Buy Theater (Times Square, New York), Sprint Center, (Kansas City), Rose Garden Arena (Portland, OR), Target Center (Minneapolis, MN), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai, China), MasterCard Center (Beijing, China), O2 World Hamburg, Allphones Arena (Sydney, Australia), Ericsson Globe arena (Stockholm, Sweden), O2 World arena (Berlin, Germany) and The O2 arena and entertainment district (London, England) which are all part of the portfolio of AEG Facilities.

Developed by AEG, L.A. LIVE is a 4 million square foot / $2.5 billion downtown Los Angeles sports, residential & entertainment district featuring Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and Club Nokia, a 54-story, 1001-room convention "headquarters" destination along with entertainment, restaurant and office space that "officially" opened in 2010.

In addition to overseeing privately held management shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), assets of AEG Sports include franchises and properties such as the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo (MLS), two hockey franchises in Europe, the Amgen Tour of California cycling race and Bay to Breakers foot race.

AEG Live, the company's live-entertainment division, is the world's second largest concert promotion and touring companies and is comprised of touring, festival, exhibition, broadcast, merchandise and special event divisions with fifteen regional offices. AEG Global Partnerships, a division responsible for worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships naming rights and other strategic partnerships and AEG Merchandising, a multi-faceted merchandising company are also core business units of AEG. In 2010, AEG launched its AEG 1EARTH environmental program with the announcement of 2020 environmental goals and the release of the industry's first sustainability report while in 2011, AEG introduced axs Ticketing, the first phase of its new entertainment platform serving as the company's primary consumer brand which will also feature a mobile service as well as a video content service now in development. For additional information, visit www.aegworldwide.com.

About Ryan Seacrest Media/Ryan Seacrest Productions (RSP)
Ryan Seacrest Media is an investment holding company. Ryan Seacrest holds preeminent positions in broadcast television, nationally syndicated radio, local radio and cable as both a producer and on-air host. He is celebrated internationally as host of the top-rated primetime talent showcase "American Idol," and hosts and produces E! News and its red carpet awards show coverage. He also serves as an executive producer and co-hosts "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest." On radio, Seacrest is host of "On Air with Ryan Seacrest," his market-topping #1 nationally syndicated LA morning drive-time radio show for Clear Channel's 102.7 KIIS-FM, as well as a nationally-syndicated Top 40 radio show. In 2006, Seacrest launched Ryan Seacrest Productions (RSP), which has since become a television production powerhouse. RSP produces the hit series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," the highest-rated show on the E! network and the spin-offs "Khloe and Lamar," "Kourtney and Khloe Take New York," "Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami," and "Kourtney and Kim Take New York." RSP also produced the Emmy Award-winning ABC reality series "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." RSP is currently producing two new reality series including "Melissa and Tye: A New Reality," for CMT and "Shah's of Sunset," for Bravo.

About Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is the world's leading entertainment and sports agency, representing many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, theatre, fashion, and the Internet, and provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients.CAA is also a leader in sports, representing more than 700 of the world's top athletes in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and golf, and works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, licensing, and sports properties for sales/sponsorship opportunities.In addition, The Intelligence Group, a market research and trend forecasting company, is a division of CAA.

About DISH Network
DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiary DISH Network L.L.C., provides approximately 13.945 million satellite TV customers, as of Sept. 30, 2011, with the highest quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value, including HD Free for Life. Subscribers enjoy the largest high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network's subsidiary, Blockbuster L.L.C., delivers family entertainment to millions of customers around the world. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 200 company. Visit www.dish.com.

Huawei Honor review

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 05:35 AM PST

Phone makers love to take pride in the extravagant names they give their products, but it's likely that the Huawei Honor is more to its creator than just a decently-specced handset. After all, the introduction of the Honor -- followed by last week's announcement of the super-slim Ascend P1 S -- appears to represent a shift in the OEM's overall product placement strategy. Huawei has done a great job finding customers in emerging and prepaid markets, but now it has its sights set on cranking out noteworthy phones that will gain the attention of anyone looking for a high-end device.

Based on its laundry list of specs, the Honor isn't a high-end handset compared to some of its LTE and dual-core competitors. And yet, it's still the best device Huawei's offered to date, and it's clear the company's upcoming phones are only going to get better. So we're really eyeing the Honor as a step closer to the OEM finally realizing its ultimate goal. Does it live up to its name? Can the Honor play with the big boys, or is it nothing more than just an outward indication of the company's future? Read on to find out.

With specs like these, you can tell Huawei, best known for its budget devices, is making a push into higher-end devices, but the Honor isn't quite there. Nor does it pretend to be. It has some quality components, but there's no way it could be viewed in the same light as the HTC Rezound or Samsung Galaxy Nexus. That said, it easily fits into the upper end of the mid-range tier: it sells at select retailers for roughly $350, while its Cricket iteration, known as the Mercury, goes for $250 with no contract involved.

Let's start off with the display. It takes advantage of a 4-inch TFT display, but the Honor uses a thinner and longer screen that helps it become much easier to grasp. Since it offers FWVGA (854 x 480) resolution, the panel's pixel density stands at roughly around 245ppi; it's not high-res by any stretch, but we certainly can't call it a lightweight either -- to give you an idea of where it sits in comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket's WVGA display is 207ppi, whereas the iPhone 4S Retina Display is 326. The colors look good in normal conditions, but they appear distorted in direct sunlight. Viewing angles are about average, meaning you'll have a difficult time reading text or watching movies when looking at it from the side.

We also enjoy the look and feel of the Honor. It doesn't try to be too flashy, though anyone who enjoys something other than basic black will be happy to know the back cover comes in six different choices. Our tester unit was white, and when we tilt it just the right way, we can easily see tiny sparkles all over it, reminding us of something we'd normally see in some types of car paint. It's not a huge surprise, but the battery cover is made of plastic and is a bit slippery. This wasn't ever a concern to us since we never had issues gripping the thing, but we'd still prefer some sort of textured or soft-touch plastic regardless. We're happy to note that the device weighs 4.94 ounces (140g) and, as a result, feels incredibly light. With its rounded corners, slightly tapered battery cover and minimal array of buttons, the Honor did a fantastic job at offering an elegant appearance without looking too loud or noisy.

The Honor does a fantastic job at offering an elegant appearance without being too loud or flashy.

Taking a tour of the phone, the top is adorned with the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the right and a power / screen lock button on the left, which is bad positioning for anyone who holds the phone with their left hand. The buttons, by the way, are raised up high enough from the body of the phone to be easy to press, but not so high that they interfere with our personal enjoyment of the device. A volume rocker sits on the left side and the micro-USB charging port is conveniently located dead-center on the phone's bottom side, next to the microphone just a few millimeters to the right. On the right side you'll find nothing -- it's completely smooth, devoid of any camera buttons. A 2MP front-facing cam resides just above the display, while the standard four capacitive navigation keys hang out below.

And let's not forget that back cover of which we've made mention of already: you'll see a snazzy 8MP rear camera with an LED flash to the left and speaker to the right. Underneath lies the SIM card and microSD slot, though it doesn't come included with one -- since you only have 4GB of internal storage at your disposal, it may not be such a bad idea to grab as much external space as you can.

The Honor uses a quad-band GSM / EDGE radio for worldwide compatibility and 900 / AWS / 2100 UMTS / HSPA with a max speed of 14.4Mbps. This is great for Europe and Asia, but in the US, your only bet for bringing down respectable 3G download speeds is with T-Mobile; if you have AT&T service, you're going to be limited to its turtle-slow EDGE network. Better than nothing, of course, but if you've been thinking of plunking down a few benjamins for the Honor, it's best not to have any cruel surprises when it shows up in the mail. However, there is one other option for US folks: Cricket, a prepaid carrier, offers a variant of the Honor called the Mercury. In addition to taking advantage of a CDMA / EVDO Rev A radio rather than GSM, the Mercury's front-facing camera has been downgraded to VGA resolution.


The Honor may not technically be a premium device, but it has some notable company: it's powered by a single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255T S2 Snapdragon and Adreno 205 GPU, which is the same chipset you'll find in the Sony Xperia arc S and Nokia Lumia 800. It also comes included with 512MB of RAM, which again is simply average for almost every mid-range handset. And it's rather speedy for our needs -- we saw a tiny bit of lag when attempting to browse image-heavy sites, but otherwise performed to our satisfaction. The touchscreen was very responsive as well. Let's have a look at the obligatory benchmark comparison tests:

Huawei Honor HTC Sensation XL HTC Rezound
Quadrant 2,435 1,963 2,347
Linpack (single-thread) 52.83 MFLOPS 56.2 MFLOPS 52.0 MFLOPS
Nenamark 1 52.2fps 29.3fps 53.5fps
Nenamark 2 30.3fps 13.1fps 35.8fps
Neocore 59.9fps 58.4fps 59.8fps
SunSpider 9.1 2,428ms 2,140ms 2,961ms

In short: these numbers are pretty darn good for a single-core device, cranking out excellent marks in SunSpider 0.9.1 for the web browser as well as incredibly high Quadrant and Nenamark scores. In terms of raw scores, it kept up with (and sometimes bested) the Rezound, which is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU and 1GB of RAM, though admittedly Sense UI likely lessens the Rezound's scores somewhat. Regardless, the processor in the Honor is just about as good as you can find on the market without adding an extra core into the mix.

We love the speaker, as it blares louder and clearer than most handsets we've reviewed. Call quality is par for the course, and we rarely experienced any static or tinny voices. Also, we didn't have a single problem finding our location using GPS with WiFi turned off. Lastly, the Honor may look smaller than today's standard Android, but there's a whopping 1,930mAh battery tucked inside. And it performs exactly as you'd expect, as you'll easily get seven to eight hours of intense use -- gaming and video playback, for example -- and almost a day and a half of moderate usage, which basically consists of frequently checking emails and texts, making a few calls, browsing the web and so on.


Huawei threw together a decent pair of cameras for the Honor. It features an eight megapixel rear cam with an LED flash and a two megapixel front-facing shooter for video chat (and decent narcissistic Facebook profile pics). It's not comparable to a juggernaut like the Galaxy S II's sensor, as it struggles with white balance and washed-out colors in direct sunlight. However, the Honor does well in low-light and is enhanced by HDR. The feature works well in any situation in which you need to capture a high dynamic range or add in as much extra light as possible; we included a small gallery of HDR images so you can get an idea of how it looks using the Honor's cam. To be expected, these types of photos are also the victim of additional noise, which lends to shots being not as sharp as normal. But it works in a pinch when you're in a dark area and need as much backlight as possible. Close-up shots also turned out more detailed than we'd originally anticipated, especially given the lack of a dedicated macro mode.

The Honor's camera app sticks with the stock UI but makes some changes to the option list on the right side of the viewfinder. They're mainly the same settings with different icons, but the most glaring difference is an added menu option for HDR. The sensor offers continuous autofocus, but the UI lacks the ability to tap to focus. As always, we would have also preferred a dedicated shutter button.

The Honor is capable of taking 720p HD video, but as is often the case with mid-range or budget devices, it falls short of being a worthy camcorder replacement. Motion was slightly choppy, the microphone was incredibly muffled (even without wind affecting our video) we noticed the same issue with colors washing out and the camera took extra time to compensate for changes in brightness and exposure.


When it comes to firmware, the Honor is a bit of an oddity -- and we kind of like it that way. It's running a custom skin and launcher on top of Android 2.3.6, but it's actually quite customizable and doesn't seem to bog down the phone's performance as a side effect. The closest it can be related to visually is TouchWiz, in which the app menu panels are oriented left / right and most icons have a rather boxy look (much like TouchWiz 3.0). The Honor's UI, however, doesn't appear to be as cartoonish.

The app menu offers the standard 4x4 grid of icons, all of which can be moved around to your heart's content by pressing the menu settings button at the bottom of the screen. Apps can even be tucked away into folders -- again, a feature we've seen in TouchWiz 4.0 and welcome with open arms -- and can even be uninstalled directly from the app menu, without the need to go deep into the task manager to do so.

Speaking of which, the Honor comes with several pre-loaded apps that cannot be uninstalled. Most of them are the standard set of programs that you'll find on any Android device -- you know, the calendar, calculator, alarm clock, messaging, Latitude and so on -- but there are a few Huawei-specific icons scattered about, such as Streams, Cloud+ Drive, All Backup, Security Guard, TouchPal Input and Traffic Manager. Many of these apps may well be of benefit to users, and we're happy that we can at least tuck them away into folders as a small compromise, but we continue to argue that apps not native to stock Android should be optional rather than mandatory.

Huawei employs the use of so-called aHome launchers, which means that you can customize them with various themes. It comes with two by default: one that looks awfully similar to the stock Gingerbread launcher -- complete with the standard shortcuts on the bottom, though you can swap the phone and browser icons with contacts, SMS and settings -- and one called Beyond the Sky which offers a bottom bar with your own choice of shortcut icons. Aside from the bottom bar, there are few differences between the two. The home screen also allows you to choose different types of transition animations when navigating between panels: the panels can slide back and forth, they can take the form of a cube and you can opt to have the screens do a 180-degree flip. And there's one more customization option for the home screen: the number of panels you're able to feature. Sadly, you're not able to offer more than five at a time, but minimalists will love the ability to delete unused panels.

It's apparent that Huawei wanted to keep its UI as simple as possible. For instance, the app menu only has two large buttons at the bottom of the screen -- home and settings -- and doesn't offer anything when you push the capacitive menu key. A few app icons, rather than going overly fancy and trying to out-do themselves, only show a basic representation of its overall purpose. The phone dialer, for example, is just a white box with a green phone; the call logs app has the same background and a similar-looking phone, but it adds arrows pointing to the left and right. The most extravagant UI elements appear to be the animations, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on which way you look at it: when switching from portrait to landscape mode (or vice versa), the screen acts as if the laws of physics apply to it. It adjusts to the new orientation, but not before swaying back and forth a couple times as it attempts to reconcile the inertia caused by the transition. Thus, it appears to rock back and forth for a couple seconds, as if you're on a boat, waiting for the seas to settle down.

The Honor's lockscreen offers several quick jumps, but there's no way to customize the apps.

We also like the Honor's lockscreen, even if there may be room for improvement. It offers shortcuts to the camera, phone and messaging, which arguably are three of the most widely-used apps (with the exception of email, of course) on the device. Our concern here is that unlike HTC's Sense UI, there's no way to change the quick jumps to anything that fits your fancy; you're stuck with this trio.

A side effect of having a narrow screen is the negative impact it has on the virtual keyboard. While we love the fact that the Honor comes with four different types of keyboards pre-loaded, every single one of them looks squished, as if the screen's two side walls are getting even closer and pushing each individual key in a vertical direction. We had a rough time trying to type on the keys, though we found ourselves intrigued by the included TouchPal board; instead of pressing an extra button to capitalize a letter or holding the key down to get a symbol, we discovered that all we had to do was swipe up or down on that key in order to get the intended result. In other words, swiping our finger up capitalizes the letter, and swiping down converts it into the corresponding number or symbol.

One additional note about the Honor's firmware. Huawei made headlines when it offered a demo build of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on the Honor's official support page. By doing so, the device became one of the first phones -- outside of the Galaxy Nexus, of course -- to run an official version of ICS, even if it was simply a trial beta version that was mainly intended for the Chinese market. The download is available for everyone to try out, and even comes with instructions on how to revert back to Gingerbread if needs be.


The Huawei Honor has been flying under the radar, which is a shame since it's quite the underrated device. Sure, it doesn't have the best chipset available on the market, nor the fanciest components otherwise, but it's one of the best phones we've seen Huawei make to date (let's talk again after the Ascend P1 S comes out). It's obvious the company put a lot of tender lovin' care into the Honor, and if this phone is any indication, we suspect Huawei has even better devices left to share this year.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this review.

NYPD begins testing long-distance gun detector as alternative to physical searches

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 03:08 AM PST

As part of its ongoing effort to keep New York City safe, the NYPD has begun testing a new scanning device capable of detecting concealed firearms from a distance of about 16 feet. Developed in conjunction with the Department of Defense, the technology uses terahertz imaging detection to measure the radiation that humans naturally emit, and determine whether the flow of this radiation is impeded by a foreign object -- in this case, a gun. During a speech Tuesday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the device shows "a great deal of promise as a way of detecting weapons without a physical search." Kelly went on to say that the technology would only be deployed under "reasonably suspicious circumstances," though some civil liberties activists are already expressing concerns. "We find this proposal both intriguing and worrisome," New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement, adding that the scanner could all too easily infringe upon civilian privacy. "If the NYPD is moving forward with this, the public needs more information about this technology, how it works and the dangers it presents." For now, the NYPD is only testing the device at a shooting range in the Bronx, and has yet to offer a timeline for its potential deployment.

Notion Ink's Adam II promises TI OMAP CPUs, Ice Cream Sandwich, broken dreams

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 01:06 AM PST

Notion Ink's teaming up with TI in order to get at its OMAP4xx silicon for the forthcoming Adam II tablet. It'll also be jamming in the company's Wi-Link 7.0 and Phoenix Audio gear onto the Ice Cream Sandwich-running slate. The chip was apparently chosen thanks to its modular setup, HD visuals and powerful low-energy multitasking. Novice owners will also get their hands on a modular software architecture which will let casual users develop specific applications using a drag-and-drop interface. It's pitching that functionality at home-brewers, students and professionals who can tailor the software to meet a specific need, casually mentioning that it could be used for signal processing, 3D modeling or medical imaging. Do we hear expectations being raised to unrealistic levels again? Given our experiences with the original, we suspect the answer is: "Yes."
Show full PR text
Notion Ink partners with Texas Instruments

Notion Ink partners with Texas Instruments

21 January 2012, Bangalore

Notion Ink has partnered with Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated for its next generation Adam II Tablets. Adam II will be using OMAP44xx processor along with other TI components like Wi-Link 7.0 and Phoenix Audio Power Amplifiers. Adam II will also leverage the power optimizations achieved using mature combination of TI's integrated power-management IC.

Designed specifically for best Power Performance and Multi-tasking Experience, Adam II will be based on Google's IceCream Sandwich Operating System.

The OMAP44xx platform's smart multicore architecture pairs its main CPUs with several differentiated features including programmable accelerators, hardware composition engines and a dedicated ISP. Imagination Technologies' super-fast PowerVR SGX5xx GPU and enhanced memory architecture add still more functionality while an OMAP-specific distributed composition architecture enables advanced image and video layering for crisp, HD visuals. These elements and more are the force behind the OMAP44xx processor's ability to enable fast and fluid multitasking while maintaining ultra-low power consumption.

Adam II will release the world's first Modular Based Software Architecture which will further expand the scope of application development and use nearly every single hardware feature in a "user customizable" application. Drag and drop features will enable easy application modification and Open Source Module will further expand the use cases and tablet deployment. Node operations like in Blender, and "Application Authoring Tools" are primarily aimed at non-programmers for composing applications, games and use-case flows in a drag-and-drop fashion, utilizing visual editors and behavior-based logic system.

This System will help consumers, professionals and students become productive as they will be able to use the tablet as a logic analyzer, medical imaging device, signal acquisition and processing, 3D modeling and multi-media.

For more information about TI OMAP processors, visit www.ti.com and follow this blog for Adam II.

LG Connect 4G sips some lemonade over at the FCC

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 11:52 PM PST

What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? No, clearly. It's LG's Connect 4G, the company's second LTE-equipped phone which sashayed past the FCC's subterranean bunker on the way to a debut on MetroPCS' network. The CDMA/LTE unit's got the usual assortment of Bluetooth and WiFi b/g/n gizmotronics, plus an inductive cover you can use to confuse elderly relatives. Now that it's been declared fit for purpose by the boys in blue, it's well on course to meet the February launch date we'd heard about back at CES -- at a price that's "still to be determined," the spoilsports.

University of Vienna researchers quantum leap into the cloud, ensure privacy for distributed computing

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 09:33 PM PST

Afraid of the cloud? You're not alone, as rising concerns surrounding the security of distributed computing have led University of Vienna researchers to seek out quantum mechanics as a privacy fix. The team's findings, soon to be published in the journal Science, prove that an end user's data can remain encrypted throughout its journey to and from remote servers, essentially rendering the quantum computer's calculations as "blind." So, how exactly does this evasive entanglement work? Qubits (or quantum bits) containing the pertinent information are transmitted to a central facility where they're processed according to a specific set of measurements, leaving the resultant computations readable only by the original user. Not obtuse enough for you? Then check out the source below for a more detailed walkthrough.

Eye-Fi CEO slams SD Association's eerily similar Wireless SD card standard, says his IP is being violated

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 07:39 PM PST

Yuval Koren is not pleased. For those unaware, he's the CEO of Eye-Fi, the company that has practically written the rules on embedding WiFi into SD cards. If you blinked last week, you probably missed the SD Association's announcement that it had created a new Wireless LAN SD standard that would effectively give just about anyone the ability to add Eye-Fi abilities to their SD cards. As it turns out, Eye-Fi's none too pleased about it, and Koren has gone so far as to publicly admit that the standard is seriously infringing upon highly valuable Eye-Fi technology. To quote: "As [the SDA's standard is] currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification." Bold.

He goes on to explain that his company has invested "tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices," and calls the SDA protocol "flat out misrepresentation." He's effectively calling for the SD Association to either pony up and license Eye-Fi's tech, or scrap the "standard" and rewrite it using something else altogether. The full letter is posted up after the break, with absolutely no elation to be found.
Show full PR text
The SDA's iSDIO specification and standards process

Several years ago, Eye-Fi's founding team realized that capturing photos or video is just the beginning, and that in an increasingly connected world, the true magic is in sharing.

We invested tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices.

Last week, the SD Association (SDA) announced that a draft Wireless LAN specification had been adopted as a new standard. This was a flat out misrepresentation. As a matter of fact, under the SDA's own rules, this was not possible. SDA members – and we are one – are allowed 60 days in which to respond with claims to patented intellectual property and plans around licensing that IP to the SDA. Should essential IP be presented during this process, and not offered for license, the SDA should revise the specification and begin the review cycle again. After this process, the SDA Executive Members have to vote on adopting the specification.

Not only has the membership's intellectual property disclosure window not closed, the Executive Members have also yet to vote on its adoption.

When we protested the action, the SDA's executive director replied "the SD Association has often made announcements during the IP Review Period because once this phase of the process has been achieved the only thing that could possibly change is the licensing and not the technical details."

This week, still in advance of the SDA-provided deadline, we disclosed our patented intellectual property to the SDA, detailing multiple Eye-Fi patents essential to the current SDA draft specification.

There is a process for the establishment of this kind of specification, and that process wasn't respected. Any company trying to claim that it is the first to adopt this specification is taking on the mantle of a standard that doesn't exist.

Currently, 10 top camera manufacturers work with us as part of the Eye-Fi connected program; dozens of leading photo-related sites connect to our service. It's through these longstanding relationships that we've become the center of wireless connectivity among consumers, camera makers and photo-related sites.

The intellectual property at the core of this digital imaging revolution is our business. It's what Eye-Fi is. And as currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.

We respect the process as established by the SDA and we call upon the SDA to do the same.

Yuval Koren

FCC Fridays: January 20, 2012

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 07:24 PM PST

We here at Engadget tend to spend a lot of way too much time poring over the latest FCC filings, be it on the net or directly on the ol' Federal Communications Commission's site. Since we couldn't possibly (want to) cover all the stuff that goes down there, we've gathered up an exhaustive listing of every phone and / or tablet getting the stamp of approval over the last week. Enjoy!

Tablets and peripherals

EU online spending estimated to grow 16 percent, reach €232 billion in 2012

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 05:45 PM PST

Pardon us Americans as we act surprised, but it turns out that we have one more thing in common with our Euro brethren: a growing number of us dislike shopping in stores. According to Kelkoo estimates, online spending in the European Union is projected to continue its upward trend, which is said to reach somewhere in the neighborhood of €232 billion before year's end. If the estimate holds, this would be a 16 percent increase over the €200 billion raked by e-tailers during 2011, and is naturally assumed to come at the expense of traditional brick and mortar outfits, whose growth is projected to increase by a mere 1.8 percent.

The data gathered also suggest there's significant room for expansion, however, as online spending accounted for just 7.8 percent of all EU retail sales in 2011, with the UK, Germany and France being responsible for a whopping 71 percent of that tally. The 16 percent projected growth is a slight decline from 2011, which saw EU online spending grow by 18 percent -- although, Europe's growing habit for click-and-ship continues to outpace the US, which grew by only 12.8 percent in 2011. Now, since you've crammed all these numbers, why not check the funny pages?

[Shopping button via Shutterstock]

Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T passes through the FCC

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 04:34 PM PST

Well that didn't take long. Shortly after getting our grubby mitts on the AT&T variant of Samsung's Galaxy Note at CES, the jumbo phone has made its way into the loving arms of Uncle Sam at the FCC. Naturally, it's not advertised as such, but test documents reveal that a model SGH-i717 handset packing UMTS/HSPA+ (21Mbps) and GSM/EDGE world radios, plus Ma Bell-friendly bands 4 and 17 LTE has passed the FCC's emissions tests with flying colors. So, now that it's got the governmental stamp of approval, all that's left is to find out when we can make with the S Pen action on AT&T's newly minted high speed network. Don't keep us waiting, guys.

Alesis brings a pair of new musician-friendly iPad docks to NAMM

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 03:42 PM PST

If there's been one must have accessory at NAMM this year it's been the iPad. That's right, no mixer, instrument or microphone is stealing the show, it's Apple's 9.7-inch slab of touchability that everyone is after. Alesis is just one of many companies creating compelling musical offerings around the iOS tablet with its latest products, the AmpDock and DM Dock. The DM Dock turns your iPad into the thumping, bumping and crashing heart of an electronic drum system. You can tap out rhythms and build drum sets with the touchscreen, but it's when you start plugging triggers into the 13 1/4-inch inputs that it really comes to life. The AmpDock, as you may have guessed, turns that A5 processor's attention towards your axe. There's a standard 1/4-inch jack as well as a combo XLR / 1/4-inch plug for connecting a second guitar or a mic. The AmpDock also has a separate pedalboard that allows you to control some program parameters while keeping the tablet safe from stray stomps. Check out the gallery below, as well as the video after the break.

LG X3 supposedly leaks, to challenge HTC Edge as first quad-core phone?

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 02:31 PM PST

Your next tablet is going to rock a quad-core chip, so why not stuff that same silicon into your next phone too? Per PocketNow, that's apparently what LG has up its sleeve with the forthcoming X3. Evidently, the four-core Tegra 3 device will also tote a 1280 x 720 4.7-inch display, 16GB of storage, Ice Cream Sandwich and NFC all in a svelte 9mm package. The whispers didn't stop there, of course, indicating it'll also wield 21Mbps HSPA support coupled with 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. So will the X3 be the world's first quad-core phone, much in the vein of LG's G2X that preceded it? Or will it be beaten to the punch by HTC and Samsung? Here's to hoping we'll find out at MWC.

Engadget Podcast 277 - 01.20.2012

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 01:55 PM PST

The Engadget Podcast believes in the future. And for each future to shine more brightly than the one that came before it, the present must do its part to fill its future with knowledge. Knowing this, we've voluntarily blacked out this podcast with the indomitable Marks-a-Lot of education -- education about education, and the derivatives of nesting education within itself. RIYL C-SPAN, Mad Money, Hackers, Bad Lieutenant. The Engadget Podcast approves this message.

Host: Tim Stevens, Brian Heater, Darren Murph
Producer: Trent Wolbe
Music: La Isla Bonita

02:30 - Apple's education announcement: what you need to know
03:45 - Apple launches iBooks 2 e-Textbook platform (video)
11:38 - Apple announces free iBooks Author OS X app for publishing books to the App Store
16:10 - Apple revamps iTunes U and intros dedicated app (video)
20:07 - Federal prosecutors shut down Megaupload file-sharing site, founders charged
00:30:27 - Samsung wasn't interested in buying RIM, still isn't interested in buying RIM
00:32:02 - Google's Q4 results: $2.71 billion profit, $8.13 billion in revenue, Wall Street disappointed
00:40:30 - Kodak files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, expects to complete restructuring by 2013
00:41:00 - Kodak says smile Samsung, you're being sued for infringing five digital imaging patents
00:47:00 - Apple files German lawsuit against Samsung, targets Galaxy S II, nine other smartphones
00:50:52 - Microsoft's Windows 8 hardware requirements: some good, some not-so-good
00:55:17 - One-quarter of South Korean phone owners have a Galaxy S II, according to Samsung
00:56:35 - Sony dashes Dash development: is Bieber's favorite tablet on the way out?
00:57:08 - Yahoo's Jerry Yang quits the company he co-founded, walks away from Alibaba as well
01:01:15 - Introducing our new liveblog viewer!
01:18:01 - The Engadget Show is live tomorrow with Red Cameras, MakerBot and the coolest gadgets of CES!

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This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

The Engadget Show is live, here at 6:00PM ET!

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 01:30 PM PST

Listen to the Engadget Mobile Podcast, live at 5:15PM ET!

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 01:11 PM PST

We've recovered from the grueling week of CES... sort of. As you probably already know, technology doesn't seem to take time off after the big show, and neither do we. Plenty of news has been making the rounds since our star-studded vidcast last week (and by star-studded, we mean Sean Cooper and some nifty handsets, at the same time), so Myriam Joire and Brad Molen are taking to the mics to discuss it, rant about it and -- in some rare cases -- praise it. So tune in live to join in the online chat and listen to some grade-A mobile talk.

January 20, 2012 5:15 PM EST

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Ericsson, ZTE shake hands, drop patent infringement lawsuits

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 01:09 PM PST

Back in April, Ericsson and ZTE filed patent infringement lawsuits against each other, with each party claiming that its 4G / WCDMA / GSM technology had been illegally appropriated. Today, though, the two have apparently decided to bury the hatchet, and withdraw their lawsuits. In a statement issued yesterday, ZTE said the two firms arrived at the decision after "extensive discussion and consultation," adding that the move will bring an end to "the patent infringement lawsuits filed by Ericsson against ZTE in the U.K., Germany and Italy, as well as the patent infringement lawsuit filed by ZTE against Ericsson." The company went on to deny earlier reports that it was forced to pay €500 million (about $647 million) to Ericsson, though Ericsson has yet to offer any comment on the matter.

Kingston launches new family of high performance SSDs, doesn't care if you're a business or a consumer

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 12:47 PM PST

Kingston's turning its SSD solutions up to eleven on its new SSDNow family of products. The SSDNow V+200 is a solid state drive toting SATA 3.0 SandForce SF-2281, capable of up to 535 MB/s read speeds and 480 MB/s writing speeds. Regardless of whether it's for your office or home rig, Kingston reckons it's got your storage needs covered, offering up the V+200 in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB sizes. The 2.5-inch drives arrive with self-encryption as standard, alongside a three-year warranty with support -- something that's getting increasingly rare. The full press release is waiting below.

Update: Prices, alongside the upgrade kit, range from $156 to $985 -- depending on exactly how many photo albums you need on solid state storage.

Show full PR text
Kingston Digital Ships High Performance SSD Upgrade Solution for Business and Consumer Use

Next-Generation SSDNow V+200 Balances Performance with Price
Wide Capacity Range Ideal for Corporate Deployment, Personal Users

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the latest addition to its SSDNow family, the SSDNow V+200. The new Kingston® SSDNow V+200 solid-state drives are the ideal high-performance upgrade solution for the performance minded yet cost-conscious business or home user.

"The SSDNow V+200 is equipped with all essential tools needed to extend the lifecycle and boost a system's performance to the maximum. The balance between performance and price makes this SSD deliver the best ROI as an upgrade for a fleet of corporate notebooks or desktops or the home PC."

The SSDNow V+200 features the second-generation high-speed SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) SandForce® SF-2281 Processor and outstanding sequential read and write speeds of up to 535MB/s and 480MB/s. The SSDNow V+200 enables fast system start-up, rapid data access and speedy copying of large files such as videos, presentations and graphics illustrations.

"Kingston constantly strives to offer the perfect upgrade solution to cover each market segment. The SSDNow V+200 drive has been specifically designed to meet the needs of both business and home users looking for an inexpensive yet powerful upgrade," said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. "The SSDNow V+200 is equipped with all essential tools needed to extend the lifecycle and boost a system's performance to the maximum. The balance between performance and price makes this SSD deliver the best ROI as an upgrade for a fleet of corporate notebooks or desktops or the home PC."

The SSDNow V+200 is available in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities as either a stand-alone drive or as an upgrade kit to make installation easy and quick. Upgrade kits include cables, brackets, cloning software and HDD enclosure - everything the business or home user needs to get started.

A video of the new SSDNow V+200 can be found here.

Kingston SSDs are backed by a three-year warranty and 24/7 live technical support. For more information visit www.kingston.com

Kingston SSDNow V+200 Features & Specifications:

Dramatic performance for any system upgrade
Multiple Capacities: the right capacity to meet your storage standards
Endurance: Data Integrity Protection featuring DuraClass™ Technology
Dependable: RAISE™ for advanced data reliability
Secure: Self-encrypting drive technology
Durable: DuraWrite™ optimizes writes to extend endurance
Form Factor: 2.5"
Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s), SATA Rev. 1.0 (1.5Gb/s)
Capacities1: 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
Sequential reads:
SATA Rev. 3.0: 535MB/s
SATA Rev. 2.0: 280MB/s
Sequential writes:
SATA Rev. 3.0: 60GB – 460MB/s; All Others – 480MB/s
SATA Rev. 2.0: 260MB/s
Sustained Random 4k Read/Write2
60GB – 12,000/47,000 IOPS
90GB – 20,000/47,000 IOPS
120GB – 20,000/44,000 IOPS
240GB – 36,000/43,000 IOPS
480GB – 43,000/30,000 IOPS

Max Random 4k Read/Write2
60GB – 85,000/60,000 IOPS
90GB – 85,000/57,000 IOPS
120GB – 85,000/55,000 IOPS
240GB – 85,000/43,000 IOPS
480GB – 75,000/34,000 IOPS

Power Consumption: 0.565 W (TYP) Idle / 1.795 W (TYP) Read / 2.065 W (TYP) Write
Storage Temperatures: -40° C to 85° C
Operating Temperatures: 0° C to 70° C
Weight: 115g
Vibration Operating: 2.17G
Vibration Non-operating: 20G
MTBF: 1,000,000 Hrs
Warranty/Support: three-year warranty with 24/7 support

Carl Icahn smells blood in LightSquared's spectrum, descends to feed on its carrion

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 12:23 PM PST

Oh, the twisted web that continues to weave itself around LightSquared. After incurring a seemingly endless parade of regulatory and industry obstacles, the Philip Falcone-backed network is now facing yet another potential hurdle. Except this time, it's taken the shape of investor Carl Icahn: a business magnate notorious for swooping in on downtrodden companies (see: Time Warner) and seizing control. And it appears the old man's pulled out his tried-and-true bag of tricks, securing a sizeable chunk of the fledgling 4G operation's debt following a value drop last year. What does this spell for Falcone? Well, the move could wind up positioning Icahn as a controlling force, steering the LTE operation away from its hedge fund founder's vision and into more profitable waters -- a welcome turn of events for the cash-strapped company. With FCC approval still pending, Sprint quietly retreating from its partnership deal and a looming fight for executive control, it's safe to say LightSquared's troubles have only just begun.

[Image credit: Sarah A. Friedman]

Verizon reportedly trials VoLTE services in two cities, eyes nationwide rollout next year

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 11:35 AM PST

Verizon's Voice over LTE (VoLTE) platform has been in the works for a while now, and according to industry insiders, it's about ready to hit the big time. Catharine Trebnick, an analyst at Northland Capital Markets, told Light Reading Mobile this week that the service has already launched on a trial basis in two cities, and that Big Red plans to roll it out on a nationwide level in 2013. According to Light Reading Mobile, Trebnick's claims were later corroborated by a second, anonymous source. Verizon, as you may recall, had previously pegged 2012 for the commercial launch of its new platform, and could still achieve that goal with launches in select markets, before going live on a nationwide basis next year, as rumored. The company, however, is playing its cards close to the chest, saying in a statement that it's "continuing to work on VoLTE and the services it brings, and will share any launch or availability plans in due course."

Olympus teases with leaked image of OM-D camera, saves the best for last?

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 11:13 AM PST

Some would say that "one picture is worth a thousand words," but all we're visualizing here are a few camera-driven buttons and a small portion of Olympus branding. Though, 43 Rumors is claiming that this is indeed the soon-to-be new addition to the OM series, which is expected to get unveiled next month. Olympus is no rookie in the Micro Four Thirds game, so it shouldn't come as a surprise for the rumored specs to be a decent upgrade in comparison to its PEN shooters. Allegedly, the rig may sport a magnesium chassis, 16 megapixel sensor with HDR optimization, up to 25600 ISO and a 3-inch OLED swivel display (because Olympus knows you love gadgets with rotating screens), amongst other features. Tickle your fancy? Well, best start saving now, as word on the web is that it'll set you back a cool $1,100 when it's revealed.

Intel does the executive shuffle

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:49 AM PST

Time to update your Intel executive playing cards. The chipmaker is doing some serious reshuffling high up in its ranks. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that SVP Brian Krzanich and EVP Dadi Perlmutter will be taking on the roles of chief operating officer and chief product officer, respectively. The big moves come on the heels of some positive looking financial results. The Journal suggests that the decision may be part of the company's attempt to line up a successor for current Intel CEO, Paul Otellini.

IRL: The CES 2012 Edition, featuring AirDrop, a new MBP and Crumpler

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:20 AM PST

Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we're using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

We came, we saw, we collapsed. After seven days in Vegas and 700-plus posts, we'd love nothing more than to catch up on The Daily Show, eat something other than In-N-Out Burger and bask in what we hope will be a slow news week. Alas, though, the show must go on, and so must our gadget ramblings. And what better place to start than with the gear we schlepped to CES? You'd think, like marathoners prepping for a race, that we'd stick with the high-tech equivalent of broken-in sneakers, red gatorade and other safe bets. But in fact, the week saw a few of us taking a chance on unfamiliar tech -- everything from the Elgato Turbo H.264 to the Sony NEX-C3. For Darren, the transition from thumb drives to AirDrop was benign, though largely ineffectual. In Terrence's case, an impulsive foray into the world of Macs left him without functioning USB ports. Good times, right? Meet us past the break for a few tales of what went right (or dreadfully wrong) last week in Vegas.


Anyone who knows me would know that I prefer to arrange things just so, and then keep them that way for as long as feasible. Thus, my primary laptop had Snow Leopard on it up until about a month ago, when I upgraded to Lion (mumbling all the while, mind you). Not that I wasn't familiar with Lion, but there's a difference between "using" something and "relying" on it as your daily driver. At any rate, I'd never been in a position to take advantage of AirDrop, mostly because my Snow Leopard machine wasn't equipped to handle it.

Countless times during CES, there arose a need to share this file or that with someone else in the Engadget trailer, and every time I'd end up asking: "Do you have AirDrop?!" At first, I was in love. The drag-and-drop nature of it all seemed so much simpler than handing someone a flash drive. But then, reality hit. First off, the transfers were painfully sluggish -- compared to a flash drive transfer, yes, but still. Secondly, there's no way to AirDrop files to two people at once; again, bummer.

I ended up seeing a transfer through via AirDrop only once, and relied on USB sticks for the rest, but I truly love how simple it is to use. If speed didn't matter and the feature wasn't limited to one transfer at a time, I'd be in love. As it stands, I won't be tossing my small stash of USB sticks just yet.
-- Darren Murph
2011 MacBook Pro

Back in September, AOL issued me my very first Apple computer -- a late 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro. When it came time to ship out for CES, my instincts told me to take my personal laptop, a ThinkPad X200, as a backup, but ultimately my desire to travel light won out. It's a decision I quickly regretted: as we were gearing up for Acer's big press event, my Mac's USB ports decided to stop functioning. All of a sudden, my LTE dongle, which I had tested the evening before without issue, refused to connect. So, I quickly pulled out my spare connectivity option -- a Sprint EVDO dongle that hasn't failed me once in four years.

Well, turns out my MacBook didn't like that one either. To make it through the event I was forced to suck it up and pay for WiFi access at the hotel (twice, at the absolutely absurd price of $20 for 40 minutes). Eventually, I discovered there must be either a firmware or driver issue (I'm still trying to track down the root of the problem), as almost anything I plugged into those ports simply refused to work. Even more bizarre: unless I booted OS X with headphones already plugged in, the jack didn't operate and, once unplugged, wouldn't work again without a reboot. I'm sure my fellow trailer prisoners appreciated listening in on my unfiltered, awkward ramblings as I edited my hands-on videos. Thankfully, there was one surefire way to get my CDMA access and headphone support back: boot into Ubuntu. It just works.
-- Terrence O'Brien
Crumpler Customary Barge

I spend a lot of time tearing around trade shows and running to meetings to check out all the gadgets I'm lucky enough to get to see. What I never talk about are the tools I use to get my job done. The unsung hero of much of my work is my camera / laptop bag: the Crumpler Customary Barge. I used to carry two bags: one for my camera and a messenger for my laptop, cables, USB sticks, modems, extra batteries and all the other detritus you need to work in my world. I shifted to one for a couple reasons: my shoulders and back were getting worn down, toting a lot of gear. Also, an edict from some transportation authority that I could only bring one bag onto the plane. The nerve.

So how does the Crumpler win? Well, it's tough, seriously tough. On top of that, this guy has space for a 15-inch notebook, a DSLR, two or three lenses, chargers and cables, with all the various compartments conveniently arranged and dead-easy to get at. The pocket at the bottom of the bag, where all the camera stuff gets stowed, has its own zippers along with Velcro dividers to help keep things from clanking. The top section has a padded sleeve for the laptop, a pouch for cables and a cavernous space where I dump everything else. Sure, the weight hasn't lessened, but schlepping all that weight across two shoulders and behind me makes it an easier pill to swallow -- or carry.

Of course, Crumpler bags aren't inexpensive, and the Customary Barge rang in somewhere around $250 when I picked it up in late 2010. It may not be the prettiest of bags, but I've yet to find a worthy replacement. Though, with Crumpler's 'Til death do us part' warranty, I shouldn't ever have to, because if it breaks they'll make it right.
-- Sean Cooper

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