Thursday, 30 May 2013

Early details for the massive handset include an Android Key Lime Pie OS, a blazing fast processor, and a huge battery.

HTC is expected to release a huge 5.9-inch smartphone in the second half of the year, a number of sources report.This fall should see the arrival of a larger, more powerful take on the HTC Oneexperience, according to Taiwanese analyst Laura Chen.
Aside from the ultralarge screen size, the only other detail tipped for the device is an "upgraded" processor, though even that specific is unclear.
Considering HTC's history of working with Qualcomm, I'd infer that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 chipset could power the phablet.
Prolific handset tipster @evleaks has also apparently gathered evidence that HTC is thinking large, pointing to a forthcoming HTC device with the codename T6. Assuming that rumor pans out, the HTC phablet could boast a screen size similar to Samsung's much-anticipated Galaxy Note 3.
Rumored specifications for HTC's upcoming T6 phablet.
(Credit: TheUnlockr,evleaks)
Newly uncovered details for the T6 include a quad-core 2.3GHz processor, 2GB RAM, a 5.9-inch 1080p HD display, 16GB internal storage, and a rear camera that uses the same "ultrapixel" image processing found in the HTC One.
Powered by Android Key Lime Pie, the phone may feature a large 3,300mAh battery, a digital stylus, and something we haven't seen from an HTC phone in some time, a microSD expansion slot.
Among the finer points in the T6, TheUnlockrreports a refreshed version of Sense UI with a more customizable Blinkfeed experience. HTC is also said to be working on a protective case with an additional 1,250mAh of battery life.
Corroborating earlier HTC rumors, the analyst, Chen, claims that HTC plans to introduce an M4 smartphone in June, which should be offered on a global scale. Come the third quarter, HTC should be ready to unveil an updated take on the Butterfly handset.
Looking at the near term, Chen suggests that things appear to be on the upswing for HTC, saying that "the worst is over" for the handset maker. After a slow start for the HTC One, the company has sold five million units.
With the Google version of the HTC One on the horizon and rumors ripe about a Verizon version, HTC is indeed building some much-needed momentum.
A spring cleaning unearths a semi-rare Apple find, the Colby Walkmac, a "modded" portable Macintosh that predates Apple's Macintosh Portable.

Recently my brother-in-law, Ken Landau, was doing a major spring cleaning when he came across a bit of computing history in his basement: a Colby Walkmac, the first battery-operated Macintosh computer and first portable Mac with a LCD display.
I'd never heard of the Walkmac, which wasn't built by Apple but by electronics pioneer Chuck Colby, who founded Colby Systems in 1982. The Apple-sanctioned model you see here was "modded" around a stock Mac SE motherboard and hit the market in 1987, two years before Apple put out its Macintosh Portable in 1989 for $7,300. Subsequent Colby models were built around the SE-30 motherboard and had an integrated keyboard (that black mat in the picture above is a mouse pad).
Though certainly not nearly as rare as the Apple that just sold for $671,400, it's still somewhat rare.

Colby Walkmac: The 'first' portable Mac (pictures)

1-2 of 10
Scroll LeftScroll Right
How did my brother-in-law end up with one? Well, he worked at Apple from 1986-1992 (he started around the same time as Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing) and was investigating sales force automation options when Colby Systems sent him one.
According to Chuck Colby and DigiBarn computer museum in Northern California, "customers ranged from the Grateful Dead rock band to Peter Jennings of CBS News." Thousands of them were sold from 1987 to 1991, "and before Apple came out with their Portable, when anyone called Apple in search of a portable Mac, Apple gave them Colby's phone number."
Even after Apple released the Macintosh Portable, the Colby continued to sell because it had a faster processor (Motorola 68030) than Apple's portable (16MHz 68HC000).
However, after Sony threatened to sue over the name (too close to Walkman), Colby was forced to change it to Colby SE30, which wasn't quite as catchy.
That was then, this is now (click image to enlarge).
(Credit: Ken Landau)
Here are this Walkmac's specs:
  • Model No.: CPD-1
  • Year Produced: 1987
  • Operating system: System 6.0.3
  • Processor: Motorola 68030 @ 16Mhz
  • Memory: 1MB
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Cost: Around $6,000 (or $11,935.96 today, based on inflation)
Landau, who today is the CEO of Mobileage, an iOS app developer (yes, that's the company'sGluey app on the iPhone and iPad), says the unit is missing a few parts, namely the plug-in hard drive and battery pack, but it does turn on. It's unclear how much it's worth, has it fetching $25 to $50, though that is for a later model with an integrated keyboard (this is a very early unit).
According to Wikipedia, Chuck Colby is mentioned in Steve Wozniak's book iWoz as having introduced Wozniak to early satellite television. That was apparently "the impetus for Wozniak to leave Apple so he could design, then start a company to market the first programmable learning TV remote, the CL 9."
Apple's Macintosh Portable arrived in 1989 and cost $7,300.
(Credit: Apple)
What's Colby doing now? Well, last month he put his all-redwood house in the Palo Alto, Calif., hills up for sale for $4 million (Colby says it's the largest all-redwood house in the world). But there's a bit of twist if you want to buy it. According to the San Jose Mercury News'Silicon Beat blog, Colby's "offering it as a 'Life Estate' contract, which means the buyer will have to wait until Colby dies to move in."
Colby thinks he'll still be kicking for another 10 to 15 years but he expects the home will be worth substantially more by the time he dies. "It [Palo Alto hills real estate] has a really great return on your investment -- even better than gold, silver or Apple stock," he said.
No word on whether there are any takers.
When an audiophile-centric company like Cambridge Audio makes a go at the wireless-speaker market, it can be tough to tell whether it's just hoping to make a quick buck or has a worthwhile new take on the category. The Minx Air 100 ($450) falls into the latter category, with a tasteful, reserved design that immediately distinguishes it from the more eccentric speakers on the market. It supports both Bluetooth and AirPlay, plus it can stream Internet radio directly, making it possible to stream tunes even when you don't have a mobile device on you.
What's disappointing is that the Minx Air 100 doesn't sound as rich as I'd like for its price, especially with tough competition from similarly priced systems like Peachtree Audio's Deepblue ($400) and Klipsch's KMC 3 ($400). For less critical listeners (or fans of lighter music) the Minx Air 100 is an solid overall package that feels well-made for the price. Audiophiles will want to look elsewhere, however, or at least at the Minx Air 100's larger step-up cousin, the Minx Air 200.
Design: Classy looks
The Minx Air 100 is one of the nicest-looking Bluetooth speakers to enter the CNET offices. It has a plain, white plastic cabinet with a gray speaker grille, giving it a Sonos-like appearance that looks good pretty much everywhere I put it. Its understated figure is a welcome departure from the goofy designs that are increasingly common with AirPlay and Bluetooth speakers.
Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
The top has two series of mushy rubber buttons that give a satisfying click when you press them down. The buttons on the right are used to control volume, pairing, and play/pause, while the numbered buttons on the left give you one-touch access to your favorite Internet radio stations. Standalone Internet radio capability is a particularly nice plus over other AirPlay and Bluetooth radios, since it allows you to quickly get some music playing, without having to grab a smartphone or tablet.
Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
The Minx Air 100 also includes a remote, but it's an afterthought. The thin, cheap clicker sports bubblelike buttons that are laid out in a grid without much organization. However, I rarely found myself wanting to use a separate remote, since you'll do most of your controlling from your smartphoneor tablet and the speaker itself has controls on it too.
AirPlay speakers all face a similar conundrum; they need to get on your Wi-Fi network, but they lack a screen and keyboard for entering a password. The Minx Air 100's workaround is a little more difficult than most, requiring you to connect a laptop, smartphone, or tablet to a temporary network created by the Minx, then set your browser to to select your home Wi-Fi network and enter your password. It's simple enough for those who've tweaked network settings before, but a guided setup through the Minx's app would have been a lot better. (Bluetooth syncing, as always, is much simpler.)
The Minx app does let you configure the Internet radio preset buttons on the top. The app works reasonably well. You can browse by the typical categories like genre and location, though it's much easier to find something worth listening to if you know a station to search for. Unfortunately, only "true" Internet radio stations can be set as presets, so there's no way to program a button to play a Pandora, Spotify, or Rdio stream, for instance.
Features: AirPlay and Bluetooth, but no battery
The Minx Air 100 is one of the more flexible speakers in this price range thanks to its supporting both Bluetooth and AirPlay. Bluetooth allows it to wirelessly stream from the majority of smartphones and tablets on the market, albeit with (theoretically) compromised sound quality. AirPlay lets iOS devices stream without any audio compression, although it requires the Minx Air 100 and the iOS device to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
This flexibility can be useful even if you're an iOS-only household. AirPlay might work better in your home, but Bluetooth allows you to quickly start streaming in other locations where you might not have a Wi-Fi network to connect to.
Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Ports on the back are as limited as you'd expect from a wireless speaker: Ethernet, minijack, and analog input. That should be enough for pretty much every purpose, especially considering its wireless support. There's also a USB-like port, but it's labeled "Service" -- in other words, don't expect to connect your iPod or phone to this speaker, for charging or for music.
Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
The back also features a convenient handle, which ironically highlights one of the Minx's shortcomings; it's not a portable speaker. The system is just small enough that you can imagine dragging it outside for patio duty, but there's no built-in battery, so it always needs to be plugged in.
Sound quality: Better seen than heard
I had the Minx Air 100 set up directly next to the Klipsch KMC 3 and Peachtree Audio Deepblue for listening tests, and it was quickly clear that the Minx Air 100 was the lightweight of the three.
I started with Neil Young's "Harvest." The closing track "Words" picks up a lot of steam toward the end, and the livelier the music got, the more the limitations of the Minx Air 100 were apparent. Young's voice and guitar sounded flat on the Minx, while the other two systems came alive. Switching to heavier fare made the difference starker. "Hand of Doom" from Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" was surprisingly rocking on both the KMC 3 and the Deepblue, but sounded comparatively thin on the Minx, especially in the bass department, even with the bass control on the back turned all the way up. At their best, the KMC 3 and the Deepblue can sound reasonable close to a full-range speaker, but the Minx Air 100 always had a tinny quality that reminds you of its limitations.
The differences were less apparent with softer tunes. The Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere" and John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" sounded sweet on the Minx, although I still preferred the richer sound of the other two speakers. The Minx Air 100's strength is creating a more laid-back sound that never gets too boomy, so if you're interested mostly in background tunes, the Minx may be a good fit for you.
The head-to-head matchup also clearly demonstrated that the sonic differences between Bluetooth and AirPlay are typically overstated. The Peachtree Deepblue and Klipsch KMC 3 are Bluetooth-only, but sounded fuller in every way, even compared with "lossless" AirPlay on the Minx 100. Speaker quality matters more than wireless-audio standard, lossy or not, on small systems like these.
Conclusion: Good-looking, but thin-sounding
The Minx Air 100 isn't going to win over anyone picky about sound quality, but its looks and convenient feature set make it worth considering for less critical listeners who want the flexibility of AirPlay and Bluetooth audio streaming.
How do you send personal or silly messages while sitting at your work computer? A new browser app offers Snapchat-like "off the record" messaging.

Much like the vanishing photos sent withSnapchat, a new Web app lets you send self-destructing messages from your work computer.
New York-based app maker Lamplighter Gameslast week launched OTR -- for "off the record" messaging -- a browser plug-in that lets you send messages that disappear within 5 seconds of being read.
"We both love using Snapchat, so we thought it would be fun to put Snapchat in the browser," according to Kris Minkstein, who co-founded the company with his brother Andy. "We figured since you're in front of your computer all day at work that you're going to end up sending a lot of these photos to probably the guys sitting next to you at your cubicle."
With Snapchat, if someone takes a screenshot of your picture before it disappears in 10 seconds, the app will notify you. But Web sites like "Snapchat Leaked" are cropping up, and Utah-based Decipher Forensics will recover those vanished snaps for $300.
Kris Minkstein says the company is in no way guaranteeing the messages on OTR can't be recovered if, say, the human-resources department decided to hire a digital forensics expert to retrieve them. OTR, he says, is meant for having fun: "It's not meant for ultra-secure communications or anything crazy like that."
OTR follows Wickr's self-destructing texts, pictures, and videos and Efemr's tweets with expiration dates. People are getting more and more frustrated with sharing things that live forever on the Web, Kris Minkstein says. "If anything, you're going to see more of this. It's here to stay."
An early version (then called ChapSnat) was presented at the TechCrunch Hackathon last month. OTR is available for Chrome, with other versions coming soon. Watch a demo video of OTR here.
Ballistic Hard Core (HC)
Scroll RightScroll Left
  • Ballistic Hard Core (HC)
  • Case-Mate Tank
  • Case-Mate Phantom
  • Cygnett WorkMate Pro
  • Griffin Survivor
  • Gumdrop Cases Drop Tech Series
  • IvySkin Wrangler
  • Incipio Destroyer
  • TheJoyFactory RainBallet
  • LifeProof Case (Gen 2)
  • OtterBox Defender
  • Qmadix Xtreme
  • Rokform Rokbed Fuzion
  • Seidio iPhone 4 Convert Combo
  • Sena Hampton Flip
  • SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel
  • Speck MightyVault
  • Trident Cyclops 2
  • Trident Case Kraken AMS Case
  • Tuff-Luv Tough Grip Leather
OtterBox claims you won't find a tougher case than the OtterBox Defender Series for iPhone 4. But a company called Ballistic is saying its $49.99 Hard Core (HC) case is "better" than OtterBox's, offering four layers of protection instead of OtterBox's two. However, it is rather bulky.

Like the OtterBox, it has an integrated screen cover along with a holster/belt clip that provides increased screen protection (you face the screen into the holster). It's available in multiple color options.

For those of you who find the Ballistic HC just a wee bit bulky, the company also has a slimmer case called the Ballistic Lifestyle ($29.99) that's equipped with interchangeable corner bumpers in various thickness options (you can go curved or rounded). It comes in multiple colors with a total of 10 bumpers (five red, five black).

Price: $49.99
Priced at:595.00
Buy Now
Expansys offers the Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Mega 16GB Android Smartphone, model no. GT-i9500, in Black or White for $595 withfree shipping. That's the lowest total price we could find in any color by $205. This quad-band GSM phone features a 6.3" 720x1280 touchscreen display, 1.7GHz dual core AP processor, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB memory, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, 9-megapixel rear camera, 1.9-megapixel front camera, 1080p video, and Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Be
Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!