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THIS WEEK IN GADGET - 7/10/11
Will iOS 5 Include a Personal Assistant?
As many of you fortunate enough to be somewhere cool are enjoying a summer holiday, we’re still busy combing the gadget news for interesting items to report. As the world waits for the new iPhone to make its appearance (now rumored to be October) and possibly a pair of Amazon tablets there is also other gadget news to report.
iOS 5 Late Stage Beta Getting Personal?
Beta 5 was just released as the new iOS gets ready for its big launch on the new iPhone. This version didn’t contain any big new features although 9to5 Mac thinks it may have found more evidence of speech-to-text features. There has been speculation about the incorporation of technology Apple got when it acquired virtual personal assistant company Siri back in 2010. We think we’ll see more personal assistants showing up in smartphones this year and next.
New BlackBerry 7 Phones Announced While QNX Not Expected Until Early Next Year
As RIM continues to struggle to retain customers who find Android and iPhones more attractive, they have just launched five new models running BlackBerry 7. The bigger BlackBerry news comes from a rumor that a QNX-based phone may arrive on the scene in early 2012. QNX is the OS that powers the PlayBook tablet and although it has received favorable reviews, developers appear to be somewhat unenthusiastic about porting their apps to this new platform. Compounding the problem has been technical difficulties associated with getting QNX to work with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) which resulted in missing support for native calendar, email and contact services on the tablet.
New Pioneer Receiver Supports AirPlay
The new Pioneer Elite SC-57 receiver has lots of channels (9.2) and lots of power 140 watts over nine channels. You can use it with your 3DTV or stream music from your iPad or iPhone using Apple’s AirPlay technology (it also supports DLNA). It will run you around $2,000.
Want to Buy a TouchPad, Cheap?
We’ve read that the TouchPad may cost HP around $320 to manufacture but that didn’t stop them from letting Woot sell a few 16GB Wi-Fi versions for $379 which is considerably cheaper than the $499 iPad 2. HP has been struggling to get its WebOS line of smartphones and tablets off the ground. With the collection of apps far below what Android and Apple have to offer. The fact that WebOS gets great reviews and has lots of innovative features may not be enough to compete with Apple and the Android camp. Stay tuned. This just in: HP lowers Touchpad price to $399.
Universal 3D Active
Shutter Glasses
Until new technology makes 3DTV passive glasses competitive with active shutter glasses consumers are going to have to live with the bulkier, more expensive active shutter ones. Up until now there hasn’t been a standard in place to make it possible to use one manufacturer’s glasses on another manufacturer’s 3DTV like using Panasonic active glasses on a Samsung 3DTV however, that is about to change. Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and 3D glasses maker Xpand 3D have agreed on a standard to make their active shutter glasses interchangeable.
Will You Buy Your
Tablet at Costco?
At 8 inches the new Vizio tablet, although a tad smaller than the iPad and other “full-size” tablets, is priced at a very reasonable $290 (at Costco). Of course this tablet works especially well to control other Vizio devices like HDTVs but it’s also a respectable Android tablet in its own right despite the fact that some earlier reviews noted less than ideal responsiveness. For $290 this could be a great companion to the gear in your living room.


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