I usually write about two iPhone apps every week, but this week is special. This week, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars came out for the iPhone and it is worth every cent of the $9.99 price tag. Though it is certainly not what I would call a family game, it is done so well that serious gamers should head to the iTunes Store immediately. I want to reiterate here: this is not a family game. Gratuitous violence, bad language, drugs, theft, and murder, are all commonplace in Chinatown Wars--in other words, we strongly suggest you don't buy it … Read more
The GS1 DataBar is the latest and most advanced bar code technology, and the only one that's now approved to encode GTIN-14 numbers in all retail checkout systems. It can be used on small and uneven items that traditional bar codes are too big or cumbersome for, and it can also encode a lot of extra information such as coupons and expiration dates. Bar code specialist IDAutomation's GS1 DataBar Barcode Font package complies with international GS1 standards and works in almost all platforms, including Windows. It includes TrueType, OpenType, PCL, and PostScript fonts and supports all GS1 DataBar … Read more
If you've been following the latest Mac news, you already know that Apple is having a special event later this month. Most people believe that we will finally see the long-awaited Apple tablet--a multitouch device that's rumored to fall between the form factor of the iPod Touch and Apple's smallest MacBook laptops. Complete with touch-screen capabilities and rumored compatibility with iPhone apps, the new Apple tablet could be the mobile device a lot of people have been waiting for. Rick Broida wrote a post today saying iPhone OS 4.0 is imminent and it looks like he … Read more
Camera accessory maker Tiffen's new Steadicam gadget for the iPhone 3GS should have some heads turning--that is, if you bring it to your next barbecue or family event. The "Smoothee," as Tiffen calls it, looks similar to a Jai Alai mitt and lets you strap an iPhone onto a platform that's kept stable by a counterweight. As you move one way, the attached weight counters your actions. The setup promises smoother video shots from shots that would otherwise be made herky-jerky by sudden body movements.
In addition to being hand-held, users can disconnect the phone-holding mount … Read more
Rumors cropped up last week that Apple had put down a big order for LED flashes, something useful for one thing, and one thing only: a digital camera. It doesn't take much to figure that the next iteration of the iPhone is likely to be packing one of these, since many of the latest cell phones--including HTC's recently released Nexus One, now have them included.
That got me thinking: how does the Nexus One's 5-megapixel camera and its eye-searing flash stack up against the 3-megapixel flashless camera module of the now-aging iPhone 3GS? Is the ability to take bigger and better-lit photos worth touting as the end-all, be-all feature among smartphone cameras? The easiest way to figure that out is to run a few tests.
Full disclosure here: I'm not a camera-testing expert. I am an avid photographer with a handful of pro gear, as well as a few high school and college photography courses under my belt. I'm not even going to try to get into things like testing dynamic range, color sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, etc. So instead, I've set up the two cameras to take essentially the same photo in various situations, to see how the two stack up.
All photos in this comparison were taken within the same minute of each other, while balanced from a leveled tripod to maintain the same height and distance. Images were then transferred directly from the devices for analysis. All comparison shots are presented side by size, at full quality, without any recompression or conversion. Any timings were done with a stopwatch.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Regular readers of the CNET Car Tech Blog will likely be familiar with the Alpine iDA-X305, one of our favorite car stereos for iPod users that distinguishes itself by completely omitting a CD drive. Besides adding an "S" to the end of its model name, the new iDA-X305S is a real evolution of the previous model, adding Pandora Internet Radio support to the mix.
The iDA-X305S is able to control the Pandora app on a connected iPhone 3G or 3GS, streaming your user-created radio stations over a 3G data connection and out of your vehicle's speakers. … Read more
On a recent trip to the California desert, with access to both a BlackBerry Storm and an iPhone 3GS, I had a chance to test Verizon's vaunted claims about better coverage.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park, about two hours south of Palm Springs by car, is California's largest state park and covers roughly 1,000 square miles of desert. In other words, it's mostly raw, but stunningly beautiful, wilderness. Over the years, I have often made day trips (alone or with friends/family) to boulder up washes (aka arroyos) in the surrounding mountains (see photo).
The largest town in the area, Borrego Springs (the 2000 census put the population at about 2,500), is famous for having rock-solid 2G (and increasingly 3G) coverage for most major carriers. In fact, in the spot shown in the photo (embedded in this post), which was taken after an hour of bouldering up a wash just west of Borrego Springs, there is no hiccup in service.
But Borrego Springs, surrounded by a desert (figuratively) of dead zones, is the exception. Outside of town, in places like the outback of Coyote Canyon or in the desert east of the Shelter Valley area (part of Julian, Calif.), it's very hit or miss.… Read more
The quality and speed of the browser is an essential feature for smartphones these days. And it's here that the BlackBerry Storm 2 has some catching up to do vis-a-vis rivals such as the iPhone 3GS.
The Storm 2 is an underrated smartphone in many respects. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, the standard software feature set competitive, and the ability to integrate all email accounts into one screen convenient.
But unbelievably--to me, at least--RIM failed to improve the browser on the Storm 2. Or let me put it this way: RIM failed to make perceptible improvements. (See RIM statement below.)
This is no small oversight. The key reason why the Motorola Droid has been a hit is because it couples a big screen with a high-quality, fast browser--making it the only premium smartphone to date in the U.S. to approach the status of the iPhone.
Which brings us to the gold standard of smartphone browsers: the Safari browser on the iPhone 3GS. This is nothing short of phenomenal. It's the closest a smartphone user can get to the full-fledged browsing on a laptop.
And the browser will only become more important as the smartphone screen size creep continues, from the 3.5-inch diagonal screen on the iPhone 3GS to the 3.7-inch screen on the Droid to the 4.1-inch display on the Toshiba TG01 (sold in Europe).
So, what was RIM thinking? The Storm 2's browser (like its predecessor's--which I had previously been using) can be glacially slow when loading Web sites. So slow that many Storm users opt for downloading the Opera Mini or Bolt browsers. But these browsers have shortcomings of their own, so they don't necessarily serve as satisfactory replacements for the Storm's built-in browser. (The Bolt browser does not zoom and Opera Mini--though blazingly fast--has trouble rendering some Web sites.)
As shown in the embedded videos, which demonstrate the load times for the CNET News page and the zoom features of the two phones, respectively, the iPhone 3GS (bottom) beats the Storm handily.
But RIM needs to hurry up and match the competition. A fast, high-quality browser is… Read more
GS1 DataBar Barcode Image Generator provides all the elements you need to create barcodes on a home printer. With a simple layout and great results, this is a perfect addition to a small business.
The program's interface was welcoming from the start, keeping all operations on a single page and providing visual cues for all our choices. This tool was fast and helpful. It was so easy to use that we never felt the need to read the Help file. Our favorite aspect of the program was the way it constantly displayed a sample of your barcode onscreen. As … Read more
Finding a replacement headlight bulbs just got easier for folks who have an iPhone 3GS, 3G, or an iPod Touch. Osram Sylvania offers a free iPhone app for the 3GS and 3G and iPod Touch from the iTunes App Store.
You can select a vehicle's make, model, and year of manufacture, and the app will display a list of nearby retailers are displayed.
"When drivers need to replace an automotive bulb, they don't always have their owner's manual handy or have access to our online automotive lamp replacement guide," Joe Verbanic, marketing manager for Sylvania … Read more