When AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon came together to create the Isis mobile payment system, they touted a standalone service, powered by Discover’s payment network, that would revolutionize the way we make small purchases on the move. Well, the revolution is still on schedule, apparently, but the big trio is now being said to have made a concession in reaching out to the incumbent leaders in this field, Visa and MasterCard. The Wall Street Journal cites multiple sources in reporting that Isis has turned into a less ambitious “mobile wallet” project that would seek to let you use your Visa or MasterCard account via your NFC-capable smartphone. As far as the consumer is concerned, it’s still the same swipe-to-buy proposition, but the move was apparently necessary for Isis “to avoid falling further behind” in the race to corner this developing market. We’d say it’s encouraging to see these guys showing a bit of swiftness — it’s about time the rest of the world caught up to Japan.
Yesterday, you saw the new 21.5-inch iMac fully specced out and up for sale on Apple’s online store, and you were even treated to the sight of its 27-inch sibling pushing three displays and 11 megapixels of resolution. Today, you get to witness Apple’s latest all-in-one computer fully disassembled. iFixit is doing the honors, as usual, and the investigation starts with the detachment of that familiar LG-produced IPS display and a Sony Optiarc optical drive, followed by the discovery of an Intel controller for the solitary Thunderbolt port on board (there are two on the larger model). Other notables include an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics chip and a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 CPU, but you’ll have to punch the source link to see them up close and personal.
We’re not the only site to put Nikon’s new mid-range DSLR through its paces. Plenty of others have taken the D5100 for a spin and we thought you might like to know: they’re all pretty impressed. The new 1080p30 video mode was much appreciated as was the larger, higher resolution swivel screen around back. The biggest props generally went to the improved high-ISO performance (which was already quite respectable on the D5000 it’s replacing) and the boost in autofocus speed, especially when using the LCD as a view finder in Live View mode. Oddly, the built-in effects also garnered a lot of attention. The Miniature Effect (a tilt-shift simulator) and Selective Color mode impressed reviewers the most with their surprising level of sophistication for in-camera processing. All of the effects can also be used when shooting video, so you can make your HD footage look like black and white 8mm by turning on Night Vision. Criticisms were relatively minor and applicable to most mid- and entry-level DSLRs — primarily that the body is plasticy and there is a slight lag in focus and shutter performance. The D5100 is an obvious upgrade over the D5000 and more than holds its own against its competitors, but if you want to dig deeper check out our review and the ones below.
What’s big, mostly white, and set for a Korean launch tomorrow? That’s right, the LG Optimus Big! This 4.3-inch whopper, LG’s largest handset to date, touts a 1GHz dual-core processor, a slightly skinned Android 2.2 as its OS, HDMI output, a 5 megapixel camera, and 16GB of built-in storage. That spec sheet sounds mighty close to the elder Optimus 2X that launched earlier in the year, though a couple of items have also been borrowed from the still unreleased Optimus Black. They are the NOVA display, which can crank all the way up to 700 nits of brightness, and WiFi Direct, which allows for wireless inter-device communication without the need for an intermediary WiFi access point. This big, delicious spec sandwich is hitting its home market on April 28th, but there’s sadly no word on when and where else it might show up. Just keep an eye out for it, shouldn’t be that hard to spot.
During its earnings conference call, Apple re-confirmed it is not adopting the current generation of LTE chipsets in its iPhone handsets. According to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, Apple would have to redesign the iPhone to accommodate the first generation LTE chipsets used in smartphones, such as the Verizon Wireless’ HTC Thunderbolt. Apple is not willing to make that concession at this point and will wait for future generation LTE hardware before it adopts this 4G technology. For iPhone fans, this means an LTE-enabled smartphone from Apple is at least a generation away. The iPhone 5 may hit this year, but it will support current 3G technology and possibly the 4G HSPA+ technology that AT&T is rolling out on its network. Folks looking forward to downloading full-length HD movies in one minute will likely have to wait until 2012 for this high-speed connectivity to land on their iPhone.
During its earnings conference call, Apple re-confirmed it is not adopting the current generation of LTE chipsets in its iPhone handsets. According to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, Apple would have to redesign the iPhone to accommodate the first generation LTE chipsets used in smartphones, such as the Verizon Wireless’ HTC Thunderbolt. Apple is not willing to make that concession at this point and will wait for future generation LTE hardware before it adopts this 4G technology.
For iPhone fans, this means an LTE-enabled smartphone from Apple is at least a generation away. The iPhone 5 may hit this year, but it will support current 3G technology and possibly the 4G HSPA+ technology that AT&T is rolling out on its network. Folks looking forward to downloading full-length HD movies in one minute will likely have to wait until 2012 for this high-speed connectivity to land on their iPhone.
Yeah, we know, 3G data is so last year. If you’ve already made the jump to LTE and are totally bummed abouttoday’s outage, know that there’s a fix coming. We have an official statement from Jeffrey Nelson from VZW Corporate Communications, who indicates that the company has “determined the cause of our issue” and is “working with our major vendors to restore connections.” We’re guessing that doesn’t actually mean plugging something back in, but maybe it does. The full statement is after the break, but what you won’t find is an ETA on when things will be live again.
As the PlayStation Network / Qriocity outage stretches into its second week, over on the PlayStation Blog rep Patrick Seybold has just posted an updated Q&A based on the inquiries of concerned users. Beyond the security of our personal information, the most important question is when service might be restored and he reiterates Sony expects to have “some services” up and running within a week from yesterday. When it comes to the most important personal information like credit card numbers, there are assurances that the credit card database was encrypted and there is no evidence anything was taken, but that’s a possibility that still cannot be ruled out completely. To keep things secure, Gamasutrareports game developers are getting new SDKs with updated security features as well. When the service comes back up, expect a mandatory system update that requires a new password before getting back to your Mortal Kombat or Portal 2-related plans.
Everything’s coming up Jack Dorsey these days. Last week Apple started stocking Square’s iPhone credit card readers in its 235 US retail locations, and now, according to Reuters, Visa has put its plastic where its mouth is. The credit card giant has invested in the personal payments startup, scoring itself a spot on Square’s advisory board in the process. No word on how much Visa is actually dropping on the company, but one thing stands to reason: it probably didn’t make the deposit via Verifone. If you would like to invest in a Square reader, it’ll cost you a lot less — the company is still offering smartphone plug-ins for free on its site.
Seems like Verizon, Motorola and Google are on a bit of a security bent — the latest update for theMotorola Xoom lets you take a far more leisurely tour of the internet’s walled gardens. There’s a WPA-PSK security fix to allow choice users into your mobile hotspot, SSL for secure web browsing, Google’sWidevine DRM for viewing locked online video content and HDCP for piping it to your TV. Of course, there’s no mention of the Xoom feature we’re truly waiting for, but we’ll happily take our Bluetooth mouse support and POP3 email in the meanwhile. Droid-Life reports that this HMJ07B update will start hitting Xooms later today, but Verizon’s still got a month to make good on those LTE promises.
How do you best
10 million 14 million in sales of your flagship Galaxy S smartphone? Easy, do what the movie studios do and launch a bigger-budget sequel to an even wider audience. Samsung is holding a media day event in South Korea to celebrate the domestic launch of its smokin’ fast Galaxy S II. Thedual-core 1.2GHz Gingerbread handset with 4.27-inch 800 x 480 pixel Super AMOLED Plus display,TouchWiz 4.0 UI, MHL port, and 8 megapixel camera capable of 1080p video is already on limited sale in the UK on its way to a 120 country / 140 carrier invasion — that’s plus 10 countries over the initial Galaxy S target. Naturally, we expect variants of the S II, with and without NFC, to hit all the US majors just like the Galaxy S did in its day. Stay tuned to see if our very positive first impressions of this gorgeous 8.49-mm thick superphone carry over to the review which should be up later today. AFP
Can’t say we’re surprised by this, but turns out Verizon’s decided to delay the launch of its Samsung Droid Charge — originally scheduled for today — at the very last minute. According to an internal email we obtained, the blame’s on “unexpected delays” and no new date has yet been set. This makes sense, considering it wouldn’t do Verizon much good to launch a new 4G Android when its LTE service is still down (for over 24 hours and still counting). Ah well, this 4.3-incher better be worth the wait.
Update: We’re hearing reports that LTE is gradually being restored across the states, and our own Myriam Joire also sees 4G connection in San Francisco. That said, at this stage it’s unlikely that the Droid Charge will resume launch today.
Sure, it may look just like any of Acer’s other all-in-one desktops, but this one’s got a few tricks up its sleeves — the Acer Aspire Z5763 spits out stereoscopic 3D images to a set of NVIDIA 3D Vision specs, and uses its 2 megapixel webcam for a Kinect-like gesture recognition system that Acer’s calling “AirControl.” As you’ll probably know if you’ve recently spent any time considering a 3D-ready computer, that means it’s got a 23-inch, 120Hz LCD screen that displays content at 1080p, and here you’ll find it accompanied by Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors, NVIDIA GeForce GT 440 or 435M graphics, a Blu-ray drive, up to 2TB of storage and 16GB of DDR3 memory, as well as built-in stereo speakers with several flavors of virtual surround sound, an optional TV tuner and loads of connectivity. What you won’t find is any pricing or availability for the USA, but if you’re living in merry old England you can pick up the rig next month for £999 (about $1,650).
Europeans have been able to bag this speedy external writer for a few months now, but it’s only just received its Green Card — turning up in the US with a suitcase full of dreams and a price tag of $239.99. A quick check of its
CV resume reveals a choice of either USB 3.0 or eSATA connectivity, 12x write speed, and the ability to burn up to 50GB of data on a dual-layer disc. The drive is being pitched as an “all-in-one Blu-ray device” because it also handles 3D playback and has a low vibration system for quieter operation. Admittedly, it only offers half as much storage as BDXL writers, but those burn slower and onto judderingly expensive media. Closer competition comes from Buffalo, which arrived early to the USB 3.0 table, but whose current MediaStation model omits the eSATA option.