Sergey Brin shows off Google Glass trackpad [Video]

Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page have sported a pair of Google Glasses while appearing on just about every major talk show/news outlet across the country at this point, but the company’s cofounders seem to do a lot of talking and not much showing.

However, Brin finally took the first step and let a non-Googler experience the augmented reality handset last week. He appeared with his wife, Anne Wojcicki, on California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Current TV show on May 23 and briefly let the politician in on the secret. A video of the interview is above.

“You can easily forget you have them on, and sense the capacity of use in the future,” Newsom later told Wired, while detailing how the headset felt “incredibly light, comfortable and inconspicuous” on his head.

During his demonstration on “The Gavin Newsom Show,” Brin subsequently gave the world a glimpse as to how the space-age spectacles work. According to Wired:

In the video, Brin navigates the system via a touchpad on the right side of the headset behind the display. He slides his finger forward and back to locate a photo he took of Gavin Newsom with the contraption. He then places the headset on Newsom’s face, and continues to navigate until the photo is located. [...] ‬After returning the glasses to his own face, Brin swiped down on the touchpad of the glasses and continued the interview. The down-swipe could possibly be used to exit the photo album he was demoing to Newsom. Whatever the case, Brin’s swipes answer questions about how the interface is navigated.

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Google introduces the new Chromebook and Chromebox, available today in US and UK [Video]

Google took to the official Google Blog today to introduce its new Chromebook and Chromebox, two devices we spied earlier this year at CES—complete with an enticing new reel (below).

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s Vice President of Engineering and Director of Product Management Linus Upson reminded the world about the launch of Google’s Chromebooks last year, and then he unveiled the new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox.

“Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office,” explained Upson in the blog post.

Google partnered with Samsung to produce the Series 5 550 Chromebook starting at $449. It boasts a 12.1-inch 1,280-by-800 display, six hours of battery life, 4 GB RAM, built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11, an optional 3G modem, an HD camera, two USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, and a DisplayPort compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA.

Samsung manufactures the $329 Chromebox with similar specs as the Series 5 550, but it carries six USB 2.0 ports, a 2x DisplayPort, a DVI single link output, and Bluetooth 3.0 and Kensington key lock compatibly. However, it lacks the 3G modem option and HD camera.

A gallery is available below.

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Samsung Music Hub officially launches today, 100GB of cloud storage for £9.99 a month

With the hopes of taking on Apple’s iTunes, South Korea-based Samsung launched its Music Hub product today. Music Hub offers 19 million streaming music selections to Galaxy S III customers, along with 100GB of storage space to match songs in the cloud for those who choose to pay—much like Apple’s iTunes Match offering. Samsung’s matching service will run for £9.99 a month; however, you can still access the 19 million songs without paying to browse. Interestingly, a lot of the Music Hub technology comes from Samsung’s acquisition of mSpot earlier this month. New Galaxy S III owners can register for an account upon setting up their new device to get going. You can go past the break for all of the juicy details.

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Samsung Galaxy S III launches today in 28 countries, 145 countries planned by July

Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S III officially launched worldwide today in 28 countries. The Galaxy S III unveiled earlier this month as a successor to the popular Galaxy S II. The smartphone features top-of-the-line specs, including a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED (1,280-by-720 pixel) display, 8-megapixel rear-camera, 1.9-megapixel front-camera, 1.4 GHz Exynos processor, and Android 4.0. While it may not be as exciting as the HTC One X and others, the Galaxy S III is definitely destined to be a hot-seller. The 28 countries include most of Europe and the Middle East; however, there is still no word on a U.S. release date, which is most likely coming soon. Samsung said the Galaxy S III should make its way to at least 145 countries by July. Who is picking up this Exynos beast?

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Beyond Retina: LG Display announces stunning new 5-inch screen, featuring 1080p HD resolution and 440ppi pixel density

Apple’s Retina Display featured on both the iPhone and iPad is one of the hottest displays on a handset to date, and it is one of the key selling points for both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Originally manufactured by LG, the display features a 326 PPI pixel density on a 3.5-inch display with an 800:1 contrast ratio. The eye cannot even make out the individual pixels, but the Retina Display is now being trumped. LG has announced a new 5-inch smartphone screen featuring a full 1080p HD resolution, a 440 PPI pixel density, and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Can you imagine HD movies on this display?

Such a high quality display is causing a few red flags to be thrown up. The first is battery life. This display has to drain that sucker fast by requiring a lot of power for so many pixels. Second is the need for a GPU that can power something that high. Do not be mistaken, though. This has to look amazing.

According to LG, the display will be available by Q3 and should be ready to ship in phones shortly after—ideally before the holidays. We are excited to get our eyes on this bad boy to check it out. You can peruse the full press release (via Engadget) after the break for all the juicy details.

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Cisco discontinues Android Cius tablet due to BYOD trend in enterprise

According to a blog post by Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group OJ Winge (via NetworkWorld), Cisco announced it is shutting down its Android-based Cius business tablet project. The roughly $1,000 tablet solution started shipping less than a year ago and clearly is not doing too well. The reason for killing off the 7-inch Cius tab? Winge noted 95 percent of organizations Cisco surveyed now allow employees to bring their own device, which he said underscores “a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go.”

There is no denying that iOS devices and cheaper Android solutions are taking the place of Cius. Recent studies show Apple with 97 percent of tablets in the enterprise, while 94 percent of the Fortune 500 is currently testing or deploying the iPad. The result is no further investment in the Cius tablet line and only limited support for what is currently available. The company will instead “double down” on Jabber and WebEx:

Over the last year, Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences… Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.

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Virgin’s LG Optimus V discounted $120—Price of entry into Android is now $28

Virgin Mobile’s LG Optimus V, which usually retails for $150 and at some retailers such as Amazon for around $100, is currently being offered for just $28 through LetsTalk (at bottom). That is under $30—with no contract—to get a device that competes with most of the $150 Android competitors on the market. It is unclear whether this is for the retailer’s Memorial Day weekend sale currently taking place, but it is a great deal for a more than decent smartphone either way. You will of course have to grab at least a month of Virgin prepaid service starting at $35, which means you still walk away at $63— less than half the original suggested retail price.

There are tons of cheap Android devices on the market, but the Optimus V packs a 3.2megapixel camera, 2GB onboard memory, a 600 MHz TI OMAP 3610 processor, and 3.2-inch touchscreen. Even if does not replace your main device, this is a great deal for a backup phone, car GPS, media player, etc., at just $30. The deal is currently backordered, but the price will be honored when more stock becomes available.

Note: You will have to buy the first month of service with this phone, pushing the cost to $63 with one-month of service. Still, not bad!

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Report: Samsung Galaxy S III review (Video)

The Verge’s Vlad Savov just completed an extensive breakdown of the Samsung Galaxy S III that unveiled in London earlier this month. The review is fully-equipped with video, imagery, and hordes of information. One such video is above, while a snippet of its wrap-up and a grading chart are below:

[...] the Galaxy S III is a technological triumph. Not at first sight, perhaps, but Samsung has done the overwhelming majority of things right. The camera is easily the best I’ve used on an Android device, the processor claims the title of benchmarking champion, and the customizations layered on top of Ice Cream Sandwich are mostly unobtrusive and sometimes even helpful. They never really gel into one coherent user experience, meaning you’ll have to learn what each new feature does individually rather than intuiting it from the phone’s general behavior, however that’s a trifling complaint when compared to our usual disappointments with Android OEM skins. TouchWiz may still have its illogicalities, but it’s been cleaned up and streamlined sufficiently to make it an adequate alternative to Google’s stock experience. While neither the display nor the construction materials on the Galaxy S III are the best possible, both represent acceptable compromises that help Samsung balance out the rest of its class-leading spec sheet.

The extra-large size of this phone, even with its great ergonomics, may prove to be a stumbling block for those who can’t comfortably fit a 4.8-inch handset into their daily routine. Still, the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown that phone buyers are willing to look to more exotic form factors in their pursuit of novelty and extra functionality — and the Galaxy S III suffers no shortage of either.

Links to 9to5Google’s coverage of the S III launch event are after the break.
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Google posts new page detailing URL takedowns, Microsoft leads with most requests

Google posted a new page on its Transparency Report that details content the company has been forced to remove from its search engine (via The Verge). The information is interesting, because it gives us a look at how often Google is asked to remove something for all to see. During this past month, the team in Mountain View, Calif., was forced to remove 1,246,713 links from its pages, and non other than Microsoft is leading the requests. The Redmond, Wash.-based Company requested that Google remove 543,378 links this month, followed by a British recording company and NBC Universal. As you can see in the graph below, the number of takedown requests served has increased dramatically over the last nine months—ever since Google started keeping track in July of last year. So why is Google publishing the data now? The company said, “As policymakers and Internet users around the world consider the pros and cons of different proposals to address the problem of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the discussion.” The takedown requests by the record labels are not surprising, but Microsoft leading the pack certainly is.

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Review: Sprint’s HTC EVO One — Amazing phone, bad timing


Original EVO 4G, left, new, less 4G EVO ONE, right

When the original HTC EVO launched on Sprint two years ago, it was a game-changer of a phone. It was the first Android device with a 4.3-inch display, 1GHz Processor, 4G WiMAX, and a host of other new technologies including something important that is often jokingly overlooked: a kickstand.

Consider this: Nokia’s current flagship Windows Phone 7 device carries the same 4.3-inch 800-by-480-pixel resolution and single core processor with 512MB of RAM. This is two years later, mind you. And, there are still lots of other phones that lag behind the original EVO. In fact, in one important way, today’s review-ee, the HTC EVO One, also lacks the original EVO’s ability to do 4G data. (Oh, and what perfect two-year contract renewal timing otherwise!)

Sprint finds itself in the middle of a debilitating transition from WiMAX to LTE on its mobile network. I will not go into the details, because it is water under the bridge, but the long story short is that Sprint is migrating to LTE from its previous 4G technology called “WiMAX.” Sprint has a host of phones running WiMAX now and needs to keep the lights on those devices until 2015 (including offloading some bandwidth to its pre-paid customers). At the same time, it has to eek out some spectrum for a new type of 4G service and still keep those 3Gers happy.


The One Family: Evo One(Sprint), One X (AT&T) and One S (T-Mobile)

Unfortunately, Sprint is only now ramping up its LTE offering as AT&T and Verizon already have many major cities covered. When the EVO One is released today (after a longer than expected layover in customs thanks to Apple), it will not be able to use LTE 4G anywhere. Worse yet, it does not have WiMAX radios, so it is basically on the same level as the iPhone for Sprint customers network-wise.

The original EVO launched at the same time that Sprint’s 4G was rolling out, so you might be saying, “Big deal? The EVO had to wait for 4G and was a success.”

Things have changed immensely over the last two years. If you are buying a superphone in the U.S. now, you expect a super network. The EVO ONE will have to wait a long time to even access a two-year-old-type of 4G speed. Sprint is rolling out its LTE in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and San Antonio with some mystery markets, but it should have only 10 markets covered by July. That means only a small percentage of the U.S. is going to be able to really use this phone.

(As an aside, this is Sprint not learning from its WiMAX rollout. Sprint was ahead in its 4G tech by a year, but it chose to roll it out in markets like Baltimore and Portland. By the time it got around to major tech/news hubs like New York and San Francisco, Verizon had already announced LTE rollouts and swallowed Sprint’s tech lead.)

If I am a Sprint user (and I am), there is no way I am going to trade a WiMAX smartphone for a non-working LTE one until more of the network is rolled out. WiMAX works great in New York and San Francisco. In fact, I still use my original EVO as a hotspot, because the network is often better than the other carriers’ 4G in the area. There are no current plans for Sprint LTE in my area (New York City).

If HTC/Sprint could have built a phone with dual WiMAX/LTE radios, I would be all over this phone in a heartbeat. However, as it stands, and until Sprint’s LTE gets more mature, it is hard to recommend.

How is the phone itself?

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