August 2010
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Month August 2010

Palm Pre 2/Roadrunner HD/C40 rumors heating up

I think I speak for all webOS users when I say that we have been anxiously awaiting some killer hardware to replace the (gracefully) aging Pre and Pixi lines. There have been many rumors floating around for months, most notably on PreCentral, that a new webOS phone is in the pipeline, and even a quote back in April from Jon Rubinstein himself that Palm was ‘working fast and furious on new handsets’.  Add Palm’s recent acquisition by HP — the largest technology company in the world — to the mix, and we have a recipe for rampant unsubstantiated claims.

What we know for sure is that new hardware is coming from Palm and so too is webOS 2.0. What we don’t know is when it will come, what carrier(s) will get it, and what specifications the device(s) will have. Two recent developments, however, seem to shed some more light on these questions.

The first development comes from Phone Arena which seems to have obtained a tentative lineup of Verizon’s handsets for the remainder of 2010. Slated for a mid to late October release — alongside the Samsung Fascinate, Blackberry’s Storm 3, and the Motorola Droid Pro — is none other than the Palm Pre 2. Unfortunately, no specifications are listed for said device.

The second development comes from Killin’ It Apps — a webOS developer — who tweeted a rather startling find from the developer logs of its popular game Cloud Hopper:

Someone is playing #CloudHopper on a new resolution! @webosroundup @precentral @engadget #webos20 #roadrunnerHD http://twitpic.com/2gd0dd

The resolution? 640 x 960. The device? Roadrunner HD. The webOS version? 2.0.

Although it is certainly possible that this is an elaborate hoax, it definitely seems like the Roadrunner HD — which may or may not sport a ‘retina display’ depending on screen size — is a reality. Whether it is the same phone as Verizon’s Palm Pre 2 — or perhaps a Sprint variant — remains to be seen. In any case, Palm fans have two more reasons to believe the next webOS phone is incoming before 2010 is out.

Sources: Phone Arena, Twitter, PreCentral

Google Goggles coming to iPhone this year

Let’s just hope that Apple doesn’t do to Google Goggles what it did to Google Voice.

Sources: The Register, Gizmodo

How I Found Lost — The Complete Collection now available on Amazon

It seems odd to me that the very thing that occasioned the end of my interest in television — going to college — also occasioned a six-year long infatuation with a television series. The year was 2004. I had just returned to UMass Amherst after a yearlong hiatus forced upon me by tuition hikes I could not afford. I was intent on finishing my undergraduate degree in mathematics along with the philosophy major I had picked up prior to withdrawing.

I was fortunate enough to be staying my senior year in the basement of a photography professor who normally only rented out to graduate students. One of my amenities in that basement was an old television — something that would have thrilled me in the years before I transferred to UMass. I was a TV junkie growing up back then, but television’s warm glow had lost its luster as I grew older — and more entangled in the Web.

I am not sure whether it was nostalgia or simply a point of utility, but I made a decision to watch that television. It was there, after all — why not use it? That decision ultimately led me down the rabbit hole that is Lost. Coincidence or fate? That I do not know, but I know this: it was worth it. If television ever had an epic, Lost is it.

Sources: Amazon

How is Flash Player 10.1 for Android?

Avram Piltch of Laptop Mag:

After spending time playing with Flash Player 10.1 on the new Droid 2, the first Android 2.2 phone to come with the player pre-installed, I’m sad to admit that Steve Jobs was right. Adobe’s offering seems like it’s too little, too late.

Sources: Laptop Mag, Daring Fireball, SlashGear

Facebook Places now live on iPhone, plots checkmate in check-in game

Location is perhaps the single hottest thing in mobile right now. With location-sharing services like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt amassing millions of users and with untold amounts of potential revenue to be had, it is no wonder that the social networking giant wants to rule the check-in game. You can check out Facebook Places in the latest version of Facebook’s iPhone app or at touch.facebook.com in any mobile browser that supports HTML5 and geolocation.

Sources: Facebook, TechCrunch

Nokia N9 leaked — running MeeGo, sporting MacBook Pro look

Nokia has always made fantastic phone hardware, but its software and overall user experience have left much to be desired the past few years. iPhone and Android phones have effectively gobbled up large chunks of the smartphone market which Nokia previously dominated. The N9 is Nokia’s latest attempt to recapture the high-end market. It appears to be an all-aluminum horizontal QWERTY slider à la Apple’s MacBook Pro complete with chiclet-style keys. The N9 also appears to have a 4″ capacitive touchscreen of unspecified resolution and an 8 megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. The most notable point, however, is that it seems to be running MeeGo — the brand new mobile OS that was born from the marriage of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin. With how impressive pre-alpha builds of MeeGo have been running on tablets, this could be a real winner for Nokia — or another letdown. Click the source links for pictures and video of Nokia’s N9.

Sources: Engadget, SlashGear

‘PalmPad’ coming in early 2011

During HP’s Q3 2010 earnings call, Todd Bradley fielded a question about the impact of tablets on netbook sales. The response included a confirmation of the release of ‘a webOS-based product in early 2011’. It looks like Palm will be blowing everyone away with the ‘Hurricane’ at CES 2011 just like it did two years ago when it unveiled the Pre and the highly acclaimed webOS mobile operating system. HP recently trademarked the name ‘PalmPad’ and it most likely will be the name of the upcoming webOS tablet. As an avid Palm fan, I am eager to see how well webOS scales to the tablet form factor.

Source: PreCentral

Apple hires Near Field Communication expert

I am a staunch minimalist when it comes to the things I carry. Naturally, any technology that will allow me to carry one less thing everyday piques my interest. I have been waiting for the day my wallet and the contents therein become obsolete, and it looks like Apple has moved one step closer to making my wish a reality with the recent hiring of Benjamin Vigier as Product Manager of Mobile Commerce. According to his LinkedIn profile, Ben brings ’10 years of experience in mobile software and innovation’ to Apple with expertise in mobile commerce and an extensive background in Near Field Communication (NFC). Apple has had several patents floating around involving NFC, RFID (radio frequency identification), and contactless payments for iPhone, so I am excited about the prospects of a wallet-free future coming to an imminent fruition under Mr. Vigier’s guidance.

Sources: Near Field Communications World, LinkedIn, MacRumors, Engadget

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 available for Nexus One

It is somewhat anticlimactic for how long we have been waiting to see an official Flash build in all its glory on mobile devices, but Adobe has just released a stable version of its Flash Player that is available for download on the Android Marketplace for Google’s Nexus One. Presumably, all Android phones running Froyo will be able to grab the final version soon, as well. So, has the wait for the ‘real Web’ been worth it N1 owners, or is Flash overrated for mobile?

Sources: Android Central, Engadget

Palm Pre Plus out of stock at AT&T, Verizon?

Being a huge proponent of webOS and an owner of the original Palm Pre, I am trying not to get my hopes up, but I have heard rumblings that the online stores of both AT&T and Verizon are sold out of Palm Pre Pluses. Checking their respective websites reveals that the AT&T online store is indeed ‘temporarily out of stock’ while Verizon is still listing it at $29.99 with a two year contract. Availability is most likely region specific, but if it is indeed true that the Pre Plus reserves are finally drying up, we could see an announcement of the next generation webOS device soon. Although I would love to see some new Palm hardware before the end of the year, I doubt anything will materialize until TI’s OMAP 4 is ready to go sometime in early 2011.

Update: As of early morning August 20, I can confirm that Palm’s Pre Plus is now back in stock at the online stores of both AT&T and Verizon.

Sources: AT&T, Verizon, PreCentral