How Television Has Changed Over 10 Years

Television has come a long way during the past decade. A new infographic from deals site VoucherCodes.co.uk shows just how much, illustrating the changes in technology and sales. It’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, the unwieldy Cathode-Ray Tubes were still prevalent.

Sept. 7 marks the birth of the television — on this date in 1927, the first fully electronic television was successfully executed by Philo Farnsworth. Widespread consumer use of television sets was still way off, though.

The infographic itself looks at the last seven years of television sales, as well as projections for the next three. And it may be the size statistics — not those concerning sales — that surprise you. An average television in 2004 was 27 inches, a figure that’s since grown to 37. The average size is projected to reach 60 inches by 2015. Especially given that the newest technologies in 3D television have only captured a small portion of the market, the sheer amount of wall real estate our televisions occupy stands out as remarkable.

Sony Reveals Launch Date for Sony Tablets

Sony has revealed the specifications and launch dates for its two forthcoming tablet devices, Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P.

Although both are Android-based, Sony’s tablets are quite different from the other Android tablets on the market, which generally follow the iPad‘s design philosophy.

Sony Tablet P sports a foldable design, with two 5.5-inch screens, 4 GB of storage space, a NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and Wi-Fi/3G connectivity. Tablet P can be described as a pocket tablet, measuring 79 x 180 x 26mm and weighing only 327 grams. We like how Sony is breaking new ground here, and we’re eager to see whether the market will embrace this novel design.

Sony Tablet S has a more standard slate design, but unlike most other tablets on the market, it’s thicker on one end than the other. It has a 9.4-inch display, a NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU and Wi-Fi/3G connectivity. It’s also very light, weighing approximately 598 grams. It will come with either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage.

Both will be available as Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi/3G devices, the former coming with Android 3.2, and the later with Android 3.1, although an upgrade is planned for the future. Also, both will come with a 5-megapixel rear and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot.

Sony squeezed a couple extra features into its new tablets. Both devices will have a 3-axis accelerometer, a gyro sensor, a digital compass and an ambient light sensor. Tablet S will come with infrared remote control functionality. Both are compatible with Sony’s Media Remote technology, which allows you to control Sony devices, including ones from the BRAVIA line, through Wi-Fi.

Finally, both devices are “PlayStation Certified,” meaning you’ll be able to play original games such as Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes on your tablet.

Sony Tablet S will be available in the UK at Sony Centres, Currys & PC World and John Lewis in mid-Sept., with pre-orders beginning Aug. 31 at www.sony.co.uk, www.currys.co.uk and www.pcworld.co.uk. Sony Tablet P is scheduled for a November 2011 release.

World’s First Glasses Free 3D Laptop

Toshiba announced the Qosmio F755 3D laptop on Tuesday, describing it as “the world’s first laptop capable of displaying glasses-free 3D and 2D content at the same time on one screen.”

The press release proudly featured the laptop specs in the body of the text, but other seemingly minute details — such as potential health risks of 3D viewing, in this case — were kept in the footnotes. One footnote stated:

“Due to the possible impact on vision development, viewers of 3D video images should be age 6 or above. Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised to avoid prolonged viewing without rest. Some viewers may experience a seizure or blackout when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain 3D television pictures or video games. Anyone who has had a seizure, loss of awareness, or other symptom linked to an epileptic condition, or has a family history of epilepsy, should contact a health care provider before using the 3D function.”

That disclaimer footnote then points to another more lengthy disclaimer on Toshiba’s website entitled, “3D Viewing: Important Safety Information,” in which another list of health risks continues. The first point on the list is especially poignant:

“If you or any viewer experiences the following symptoms or any other discomfort from viewing 3D video images, stop viewing and contact your health care provider: Convulsions, Eye or muscle twitching, Loss of awareness, Altered vision, Involuntary movements, Disorientation, Eye Strain, Nausea/Vomiting, Dizziness, Headaches, Fatigue.”

Priced at $1,700, the laptop will be available in mid-August. One can’t help but wonder if consumers will be paying attention to these small details relating to their health when deciding to purchase the latest in technological wonders.

It can be argued that these health risks apply for any type of 3D viewing — even so, should they be relegated to the footnotes?

What are your thoughts on how tech companies should disclaim health risks regarding use of their products? And is owning a 3D laptop worth risking your health? Let us know in the comments below.

The History of Android

Android‘s box of sweets has gotten much more diverse since launching its first dessert-themed operating system, Cupcake, in 2009.

Mobile app developers [x]cubelabs have laid out a timeline of these versions — from Cupcake to Ice Cream Sandwich — in the infographic below.

What updates do you think were most influential? At what point did you decide that Android was or wasn’t the right OS for you?

 

 

15 Inch Mac Book Air

Apple is putting the finishing touches on a 15-inch ultra-portable MacBook Air/Pro hybrid that could make its debut this holiday season, according to multiple reports.

While Macrumors is scant on details about the next-generation Apple computer, it is likely to drop the optical disc drive and utilize a solid state drive instead of a hard disk drive. These are two of the MacBook Air‘s defining features.

A follow-up report from TUAW corroborates the Macrumors report. In addition, TUAW claims that the new device will be part of the MacBook Pro product line and not the MacBook Air family. It also claims that a 17-inch model is also being developed and that both models could make their debut during the 2011 holiday season.

Apple unveiled new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs last week to critical acclaim. In addition to new Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, the refreshed ultra-portables contain Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards and OS X Lion. The tech titan refreshed the MacBook Pro line in February with faster processors and Thunderbolt ports.

If Apple really intends to slim down the MacBook Pro line and switch out the HDD for the SSD, it will have to find a way to keep the price down while giving customers comparable disk storage options. Or perhaps the 15-inch ultra-portable is the start of a new line of MacBooks that combine the portability of the Air with the power of the Pro.

We won’t know for sure until we get closer to the holiday season. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and try to get some answers.

Top Tips For Optimising Your Online Presence

It can be fairly straightforward today to create an online presence for your company and this can even be done overnight (albeit in a simple manner), but what is more challenging to digital marketers is making the most of their online presence and using it to increase revenue and build brand awareness.

Here are a few of my top tips to help your company get the best results it can:

The Customer
Most importantly, remember that websites are all about enhancing the customer experience so that customers engage more effectively with your brand. View all visitors to your website as customers (regardless of what you sell) and ensure you have the necessary services in place to make them happy. The best way to do this is to live test different strategies to see the real-time results. This way you can effectively see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Competitors
It’s also important to consider what your competitors are doing online. Take a look at their online presence (such as website, Twitter, smartphone app, eBay store, Facebook, mobile site) and channels they are using to push their brand and sales. Take note of what you think works well or doesn’t work well and why. Also, analyse the channels that are being used and identify how well they engage with the customer.

Be App Savvy
With the rise in smartphone apps, it is easy to get distracted and dive head first into the ‘cool’ channels such as building an all-singing all-dancing app. But often it is more important – and cheaper – to concentrate on other online areas first. There is no point building an expensive app and then having a poor online presence elsewhere because the app can end up being a burden. Mobile websites can be a more important resource than apps depending on your industry. For example, increasing numbers of web users are banking online, but it’s no good having a smartphone app allowing customers to check their account balance if the counterpart mobile site isn’t accessible enough to allow user-friendly money transfers.

Analyse
Web and mobile analytics are essential to monitor the success of new and existing channels. It sounds obvious, but there is no point in having an online strategy if you don’t monitor it. There is plenty of insightful data out there and it’s important to make the most it by analysing what the data reveals about visitor habits. This data will tell you a lot about what areas you need to improve, add or promote, and just how customers are engaging with your brand.

Decide on a Social Media Strategy
It can be too easy to set up numerous accounts across numerous networks and leave them to go stale or only update them occasionally. Think about how you will use Twitter as a marketing tool. Will you use Twitter primarily as a marketing tool, or will it be used for sales and customer service too? Also, investigate the best ways for your company to make the most of social commerce – an area which is set to be a rapid grower in 2011.

Stay Ahead of the Game
Finally, don’t forget that online channels are continually changing. Don’t assume that one update here and there once a year is enough. Regularly track how your online strategy is faring and explore any new developments that might be relevant.

Mobile Hacking: How Safe Is Your Smartphone?

New instances of phone hacking seem to emerge from Rupert Murdoch’s empire on a daily basis. But are the reports of interest beyond Murdoch and his detractors? Should you, as a consumer, fear that your phone will be hacked?

Not yet. Experts say that it’s still fairly easy to hack into your phone, but unless you’re a celebrity, you’re unlikely to be a target. Don’t get too comfortable, though. The era of safe mobile computing may be coming to an end as smartphones and other mobile devices become more popular than PCs.

For the moment, however, phone hacking is the farm team version of big league PC hacking. Methods — particularly in the case of the Murdoch charges which stretch back a decade in some cases — are pretty old school. Robert Siciliano, a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert, says probably the most prevalent way people hack phones is via “social engineering,” a.k.a. lying. For instance, a would-be hacker might call you and pose as the phone company saying they need to update your account and need your password. Or the hacker might get enough of your information to call the phone company and pose as you.

Steve Santorelli, director of global outreach at the Internet security research group Team Cymru, and former Scotland Yard police officer, says that the Murdoch phone hacks probably didn’t even take that much effort. It’s likely, he says, that the victims left a default password provided by the carrier on their phone and the hackers merely guessed correctly. Santorelli says that some carriers still use default passwords. Lesson: Change your passwords often.

There are, of course, more technologically savvy ways to hack your phone as well. A would-be hacker, for instance, might get a bit of information about your account and send a phishing email purportedly from your carrier asking you to log in. At that point they will have your password and other sensitive information. Smartphones also provide an opportunity to install monitoring software. iPhone owners are probably the safest in that regard, unless they jailbreak their phones, Siciliano says. Android users are less secure since publishers can upload their apps directly to Android Market. In March, hackers added malicious code to 58 Android apps, infecting 250,000 phones. “Android is more vulnerable because it’s a more open system,” says Siciliano. “While Google does vet its apps, some do slip by that are malicious.”

Once an app is installed, it can record all your calls and texts and, depending on what kind of apps you have and what you do with your phone, possibly get personal data related to banking and credit cards. There are other possibilities as well. A hacker could commandeer your phone into sending thousands of texts or making calls beyond your monthly minutes, causing you to rack up huge bills.

Such attacks are still pretty rare.”The low hanging fruit is still the PC,” says Siciliano. “If you are a criminal hacker, Microsoft’s OS is the most hacked software on the planet.” Yet that could be changing quickly. A recent survey by Flurry showed that consumers are now spending more time on mobile apps than on the web. Another by Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers estimated that combined tablet and smartphone shipments eclipsed those of desktops and laptops this year for the first time.

Security firms have taken notice. Market research firm Infonetics predicts sales of mobile security software will grow 50% each year through 2014, when it will hit $2 billion. AT&T also plans to start selling a security offering to customers next year.

In short, sometime soon phone hacks may not just be Hugh Grant’s problem. Says Santorelli: “If I had money right now, I’d bet on the Russian mafia. Mobile hacking is going to be huge.”

Microsoft Redesigns Bing Maps Interface

Microsoft has rolled out a redesign of the Bing Maps interface, consolidating most of the task and navigation options in a control bar on top of the page.

You can now use the top bar to change the type of view, activate traffic information and streetside view, get directions, load map apps, and print and share the current location on the map. Some options and controls are also still available in the sidebar on the left, which can be opened and closed at will.

The new interface will change according to where you are; for example, if you’re accessing Bing Maps from the UK, you will see an extra “London Street Map” option in the top bar.

Finally, if you use a browser that supports the W3C Geolocation API (such as the latest version of Firefox), you’ll see a button called “locate me” that looks like a target, located at the top left of the map. Click on it, and the browser will center the map to your current location.

How do you like the new Bing Maps interface? Do you like it more than Google Maps?

World's Thinnest Laptop Launched in India

Dell has launched the XPS 15z laptop in India. While the XPS 15z sounds like a generic laptop name, this is also the “thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet”, and marks what will be Dell’s yearlong debut of thin and ultra-powerful products.

However, according to an Engadget review, the laptop is “it’s actually a few hairs thicker than a 15-inch MacBook Pro, wider, and at 5.54 pounds, it weighs practically the same.”

Designed for, well, everyone (Dell mentions “mobile warriors to students and small-business owners”, the XPS aims for a fully-loaded computing experience.

Onboard are 2nd-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, an optional 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) display almost twice the HD resolution of most HD displays, NVIDIA graphics with 3DTV play capabilities2 , built-in WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0 and a backlit keyboard for superior entertainment and web-browsing experiences, along with 8 hours of battery life.

All this in a case less than an inch thick.

“The XPS 15z delivers uncompromising performance in our most beautifully designed laptop yet,” said Sam Burd, vice president of Dell’s Consumer and Small/Medium Business product group. “It delivers all the must-have features — from next-generation Intel Core i processors for incredible performance to optional full HD screens that are up to 50 percent brighter than standard displays – all in a stunning form factor that makes it the thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet.”

“The XPS 15z provides a glimpse into a series of visually stunning and powerful systems coming soon to our consumer and small-to-medium-business product portfolio,” said Steve Felice, president of Dell’s Consumer and Small/Medium Business group. “We’re committed to introducing next-generation products that help people pursue their personal and professional passions.”

PROCESSOR

The XPS is a veritable Transformer. Sharp exteriors that mention anything of NVIDIA discrete graphics with Optimus technology which automatically switches to power-saving integrated graphics when workload is reduced, saving battery life for when you really need it.

CONNECTIVITY

there’s the obvious built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, along with an optional Intel Wireless Display** feature to stream videos and photos from your XPS 15z to an HDMI-equipped TV.

SPECIFICATION

Thin (0.97”/24.68mm) laptop PC with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium; aluminum and mag-alloy enclosure

2nd-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 Dual Core processor choices

Standard HD or optional Full HD (1920×1080) WLED display

Fast NVIDIA graphics options4 :

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M with 1GB graphics memory

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M with 2GB graphics memory

Includes NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology; NVIDIA 3DTV Play technology

4GB up to 8GB DDR34 1333Mhz memory4 options

Fast 7200RPM hard disk storage, up to 750GB5

Built-in Slot load DVD +/- RW (reads & writes to CD/DVD)

Backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard with adjustable brightness

Optimized touchpad

Built-in Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity3

Intel Wireless Display-ready**

Up to 8 hours of battery life with 8-cell battery1

USB 3.0 (2), USB/eSATA with PowerShare, HDMI 1.4, Mini Display-Port, Gigabit Ethernet and audio connectors

Built-in 9-in-1 media card reader

Built-in 1.3MP HD Webcam with dual array digital microphones and stereo speakers

Dell Stage software for fast access to content like music, videos and photos

Dimensions: Height: 0.97” (24.68mm) / Width: 15.15” (384.85mm) / Depth 10.25” (260.37mm); Weight: starting at 5.54lbs (2.51 kg)6.

World’s Thinnest Laptop Launched in India

Dell has launched the XPS 15z laptop in India. While the XPS 15z sounds like a generic laptop name, this is also the “thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet”, and marks what will be Dell’s yearlong debut of thin and ultra-powerful products.

However, according to an Engadget review, the laptop is “it’s actually a few hairs thicker than a 15-inch MacBook Pro, wider, and at 5.54 pounds, it weighs practically the same.”

Designed for, well, everyone (Dell mentions “mobile warriors to students and small-business owners”, the XPS aims for a fully-loaded computing experience.

Onboard are 2nd-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, an optional 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) display almost twice the HD resolution of most HD displays, NVIDIA graphics with 3DTV play capabilities2 , built-in WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0 and a backlit keyboard for superior entertainment and web-browsing experiences, along with 8 hours of battery life.

All this in a case less than an inch thick.

“The XPS 15z delivers uncompromising performance in our most beautifully designed laptop yet,” said Sam Burd, vice president of Dell’s Consumer and Small/Medium Business product group. “It delivers all the must-have features — from next-generation Intel Core i processors for incredible performance to optional full HD screens that are up to 50 percent brighter than standard displays – all in a stunning form factor that makes it the thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet.”

“The XPS 15z provides a glimpse into a series of visually stunning and powerful systems coming soon to our consumer and small-to-medium-business product portfolio,” said Steve Felice, president of Dell’s Consumer and Small/Medium Business group. “We’re committed to introducing next-generation products that help people pursue their personal and professional passions.”

PROCESSOR

The XPS is a veritable Transformer. Sharp exteriors that mention anything of NVIDIA discrete graphics with Optimus technology which automatically switches to power-saving integrated graphics when workload is reduced, saving battery life for when you really need it.

CONNECTIVITY

there’s the obvious built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, along with an optional Intel Wireless Display** feature to stream videos and photos from your XPS 15z to an HDMI-equipped TV.

SPECIFICATION

Thin (0.97”/24.68mm) laptop PC with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium; aluminum and mag-alloy enclosure

2nd-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 Dual Core processor choices

Standard HD or optional Full HD (1920×1080) WLED display

Fast NVIDIA graphics options4 :

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M with 1GB graphics memory

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M with 2GB graphics memory

Includes NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology; NVIDIA 3DTV Play technology

4GB up to 8GB DDR34 1333Mhz memory4 options

Fast 7200RPM hard disk storage, up to 750GB5

Built-in Slot load DVD +/- RW (reads & writes to CD/DVD)

Backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard with adjustable brightness

Optimized touchpad

Built-in Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity3

Intel Wireless Display-ready**

Up to 8 hours of battery life with 8-cell battery1

USB 3.0 (2), USB/eSATA with PowerShare, HDMI 1.4, Mini Display-Port, Gigabit Ethernet and audio connectors

Built-in 9-in-1 media card reader

Built-in 1.3MP HD Webcam with dual array digital microphones and stereo speakers

Dell Stage software for fast access to content like music, videos and photos

Dimensions: Height: 0.97” (24.68mm) / Width: 15.15” (384.85mm) / Depth 10.25” (260.37mm); Weight: starting at 5.54lbs (2.51 kg)6.