September 29, 2011

A (Not So) Brief History of Computer-Like Gadgets

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Right now, our society seems to be in a transitory state with electronic gadgets and how consumers use them. The main issue that people and markets seem to be back-and-forth on is the argument between form and function.

Computer-Like Gadgets

In the beginning, there were desktops. They were big and their monitors were also big and even more ugly. They sat on desks where people would work on them and get stuff done.

Many, many years later came laptops which were a lot smaller. They varied in size but could typically be compared to a long and wide textbook (though not a particularly thick textbook). At first people scoffed at the lack of power of laptops compared to desktops, but over time, performance grew to such an extent that many laptops could outperform desktops.

More importantly, people marveled over the portability of laptops. You could carry them in a bag to school or to your office at work or even on airplanes to different cities. While they could sometimes feel heavy (especially with a power cord and maybe a mouse included), they were the perfect solution for a portable office.

However, you couldn't practically carry them everywhere without at least some pain and annoyance, so people began using handheld portable devices called PDAs. After a while, people got tired of carrying a phone and a PDA everywhere, so they combined the two. While they were at it, people also decided it would be nifty to add a camera and camcorder in and allow internet access so people could virtually do everything on one device that fits in their pocket. They eventually called this the smartphone.

Pause

Let's take a minute to look at the convenience, function, and flow of technological gadgets at this point in technology history (before the tablet and netbook). For your performance-intensive computing needs (video editing, music recording, image editing, and gaming), the most ideal choice is a desktop. It's easy to maintain and has incredible performance potential.

If you need something portable and travel-friendly with these performance-intensive computing needs, you will have to invest in a high-end laptop. This is considerably more expensive, but it serves its niche. And of course the level of performance (and concurrently price) is based on your needs. Some people only need midrange laptops to optimally do their jobs.

For just a general calendar, planner, music player, GPS system, and off-hand internet researching device, people had smartphones. It wasn't ideal at all for content creation (even with a slide-out keyboard) although it could get the job done in a crunch situation, and it also wasn't the ideal screen size for a reader although it still served this purpose decently in a pinch.

Resume

Then the computing market started to realize that many people did not need computers nearly as high-end as what was on the market. Additionally, these more basic, low-spec machines could be crafted in a much more portable size (compared to all other laptops) and sell for a cheaper price. These devices, known as netbooks, came into the market right in the midst of a recession so the timing was perfect.

Only a couple years after netbooks were introduced, Apple released its iPad and thus the tablet market was born. Several comparisons have been made between tablets and netbooks. They are similar in size although tablets are typically smaller and lighter. That being said, netbooks have more function than tablets due to operating systems. Tablets operate more like oversized phones (running apps rather than major software or programs) while netbooks behave more like laptops. Yet they both overlap in pricing and size.

So here we are at this awkward transitioning point between form and function. Tablets win in areas of form: They are lighter and have more screen space than most netbooks but their function is restricted almost exclusively to media consumption. Netbooks and laptops obviously win in function: content creation is much more of a reality (you have a physical keyboard) but their form leaves a lot to be desired.

Many experts and insiders say that one must give way to the other although the market is starting to see hybrids (tablets with keyboard attachments or slide-out keyboards). In terms of determining where you fit into the market, just try not to waste too much time reading the fanboy wars between different types of technology and brands.

About Author: This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.

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Sony Announces the Live Android Phone for Music Lovers

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Sony Ericsson has had an interesting string of handsets lately. From the super slim Arc, to the slide away gaming Play, Sony seems to be one of the few manufacturer doing a good job standing out from the Android pack. The latest phone from the Sony camp is aimed at music lovers and is called the “Live.” The handset ships with native applications for Sony’s Quriosity music program and a powerful equalizer.

Sony Ericsson Live 
Specs
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Live is a slimmed down handset running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It features a 3.2-inch WVGA capacitive touch screen that’s bright and vivid, while still small enough to allow a good form factor. Under the hood is a 1GHz processor, (likely a Snapdragon) and 312MBs of RAM. It’s not exactly on super phone levels, but that is more than enough power to ensure a snappy Android experience and run any app currently available. The phone features tri-band 3G supports and will be able to roam on more or less any GSM network. In addition, the phone also ships with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a dedicated GPS for navigation.
Availability
The Live is slated for a Q4 release and while there is no official word on price just yet, it’s clearly being marketed as a mid-ranged device. Even at the standard price of $450 with a 32GB microSD card included in the price, it may prove to be a compelling option for music lovers who want a decent smartphone. Press release provided below:

Full Press Release Text:

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™ delivers unique social music experience for smartphones
22 August 2011
Smartphone with Walkman™ on the latest Android platform (Gingerbread 2.3)
Unique Facebook™ integration enables instant music and media sharing
Content services from Sony provide access to the latest music and video titles
22 August 2011, London, UK – Sony Ericsson today announced Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™, an Android smartphone that delivers a unique social music experience. A dedicated Walkman™ hardware button provides instant access to the music player and consumers can also like, share and discover content through a deep Facebook™ integration. The infinite button lets the consumer explore even more and the *Qriocity service from Sony provides music and video content for the consumer to enjoy.
With attractive curved design, a glossy finish and a mineral glass display, the phone has a 3.2" screen and a powerful 1Ghz processor. A front facing camera is enabled for Skype video calling, while a 5MP AF camera can capture 720p HD video recording. *Sony's xLOUD™ enhances audio output, while the latest Android platform for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3) provides access to over 250,000 applications on the Android Market™.
Nikolaus Scheurer, Head of Product Marketing, Sony Ericsson said: "Consumers want smartphones to deliver a rich and social entertainment experience. Rather than a one dimensional music experience, they want instant and seamless access to new content, combined with the ability to share and connect with their friends. The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™ provides exactly this, in a powerful package with great style."
A perfect combination of social networking and music entertainment:
Deep Facebook™ integration: Allows users to instantly access Facebook through the most used areas of the phone such as the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar.
Media Discovery Application: A dynamic application placing the world of music and videos at consumer's fingertips including Facebook™ recommendations from their friends.
Infinite button: Tapping it within the media player enables consumers to have instant access to new content about their favourite artist, such as music videos, artist information and lyrics search.
Qriocity music and video content services from Sony: Consumers can access millions of songs from all major labels and watch thousands of movies from all major studios. Only Sony Ericsson Android smartphones provide consumers with unique access to the entertainment services from *Sony.
*Sony's xLOUD™ technology: Enhances audio output of the inbuilt speakers at high levels.
TrackID™: Identifies the music track you are listening to within the FM radio and music player. The track can then instantly be shared or downloaded.
Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™ will be available globally in selected markets from Q4 2011.
For full details all products news, please visit the press room and the product blog:
http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/corporate/press/pressreleases/latestnews
http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/
Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™ at a glance.
*Please note that all services mentioned may not be available in every market.
Colours
Black and White
Facts
Size: 56.5 x 106 x 14.2 mm
Weight: 115 g
Camera
5 megapixel camera
8x digital zoom
Auto focus
Face detection
Flash/Photo light
Flash/Photo flash
Flash/LED
Front-facing camera (VGA)
Geo tagging
HD video recording (720p)
Image stabiliser
Red-eye reduction
Scene detection
Self-timer
Send to web
Smile detection
Touch capture
Touch focus
Video light
Video recording
Music
Album art
Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)
Music tones (MP3/AAC)
PlayNow™ service
Stereo speakers
TrackID™ music recognition
Walkman™ player
xLOUD™
Internet
Android Market™
Bookmarks
Google™ search
Google Voice™ Search
NeoReader™ barcode scanner
Pan & zoom
Web browser (WebKit)
Communication
Call list
Conference calls
Facebook™ application
Google Talk™
Polyphonic ringtones
Skype
Sony Ericsson Timescape™
Speakerphone
Twitter™ (Timescape™ integration)
Vibrating alert
Video chat ready
Messaging
Conversations
Email
Google Mail™
Handwriting recognition
Instant messaging
Multimedia messaging (MMS)
Predictive text input
Sound recorder
Text messaging (SMS)
Type & Send widget
Design
Auto rotation
Four-corner Home screen
Keyboard (on-screen, 12-key)
Keyboard (on-screen, QWERTY)
Live wallpaper
Picture wallpaper
Touch screen
Entertainment
3D games
Media browser
Radio (FM radio with RDS)
Video streaming
Video viewing
YouTube™
Organiser
Alarm clock
Calculator
Calendar
Document readers
Emanual
Flight mode
Google Calendar™
Google Gallery 3D™
Infinite button
Phonebook
Setup guide
Event
Timer
Widget manager
Connectivity
3.5 mm audio jack
aGPS
Bluetooth™ technology
DLNA Certified™
Google Latitude™
Google Maps™ for Mobile
Google Maps™ with Street View
Media Transfer Protocol support
Micro USB support
Modem
Native USB tethering
Synchronisation via Facebook™
Synchronisation via Google™ Sync
Synchronisation via Sony Ericsson Sync
Synchronisation with computer
Synchronisation via Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync®
Synchronisation: Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® via Moxier client
USB mass storage
USB High speed 2.0 support
USB support
Wi-Fi™
Wi-Fi™ Hotspot functionality
Wisepilot™ turn-by-turn navigation
Display
3.2 inches
16,777,216 colour TFT
480 x 320 pixels
Capacitive touchscreen (multi-touch)
Scratch-resistant
Memory
Phone memory (user-free): Up to 320MB
Memory card support: microSD™, up to 32GB
Battery life
Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 14 hrs 15 min*
Standby time GSM/GPRS: Up to 600 hrs*
Talk time UMTS: Up to 6 hrs 42 min*
Standby time UMTS: Up to 850 hrs*
Music listening time: Up to 17 hrs 30 min
Video listening time: Up to 6 hrs 30 min
*According to GSM Association Battery Life Measurement Technique. Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configurations, and phone usage.
Networks
UMTS HSPA 850 (Band V), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I)
GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS HSPA 900 (Band VIII), 2100 (Band I)
GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
In the kit
Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman™
1200 mAh battery
stereo headset
2GB microSD™ memory card
Charger
micro USB cable for charging
synchronisation and file transfer
user documentation

Bio(About the Author): Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at online degrees, where recently she’s been interested in advanced start nutrition programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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