AT&T just added the Sharp FX to its lineup today, and if it looks a lot like the Sidekick, it's because Sharp was also the manufacturer behind many of the latest Sidekick handsets. It has a touch screen plus a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, an MP3 player, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, the att.net HTML browser, instant messaging, e-mail, and social network support. It's also compatible with AT&T's cloud services like AT&T Address Book.
Mobile TV fans will also be happy to know that the Sharp FX also supports AT&… Read more
Ricoh, the Japanese digital office solutions company, is announcing a new iPhone app from its Quanp subsidiary. The app provides 10GB of free cloud-based storage, the ability to share files up to 500MB, uploading and management of photos and videos taken on an iPhone, and a potentially cool local sharing function with other nearby iPhone users.
The Quanp app rose to No. 2 on the Japanese App Store in the Productivity category after its release in Japan earlier this month. It's now available in the App Store for users in the U.S.
There are a vast array of choices for cloud storage, including a number of products that address the need to manage files from a mobile device. One interesting angle of the Quanp product is a function called "Flick File," which allows you to send files back and forth via Bluetooth. It reminds me of the old days of beaming business cards to Palm devices, or more recently of the Bump social-networking application.
I've been watching Ricoh's Quanp organization work its way through the ins and outs of Silicon Valley for the past year and a half. Their online storage service--they call it "visual" online storage due to the fancy 3D interface of their PC client--has potential to help handle the deluge of data we are creating at home.
The vast majority of computer users don't have great backup habits, and with more and more people embracing mobile devices and data usage rates on smartphones skyrocketing, the lack of backups is only going to get worse. With cloud-based storage that can sync with a PC, much of the hassle is removed from the backup equation.
In Japan, mobile phones are ubiquitous: people use them to enter subways with a quick swipe, to pay for things in vending machines, and to manage paperless boarding passes in airports. Japanese conglomerate Sharp leads in cell phone market share with 26.2 percent, and Apple has the largest American corporate presence with 4.9 percent. … Read more
Wow, the new Sharp i3 Wall is a lot of TV! I'm tempted to ask who needs that much TV but that would be a silly question. I work for CNET after all!
A few highlights of this beast: It has thirty 60-inch liquid crystal displays mounted 6.5 millimeters from one another. It will cost $550,000 when it launches in Japan later this year. No joke!
Before you start emptying your 401K to be able to afford this (and if you have that much in your 401K, good for you!), keep in mind the equation for TV … Read more
The cutthroat competition among HDTV-makers inspires constant efforts to one-up the other guy, and the end result are confusing, misleading claims that do little to tell shoppers about true performance and picture quality. At CNET I try to cut through a lot of that "specmanship" in my reviews, and many other critical voices are fighting the good fight too.
"Display Myths Shattered: How Monitor & HDTV Companies Cook Their Specs" collects numerous misleading HDTV and PC monitor specs and debunks them one by one. The author, Raymond Soneira, takes aim at unnecessary--and often harmful to picture … Read more
While others have torn down the Kin in their reviews, the folks at Chipworks have done an actual teardown of the Microsoft smartphone.
For those who missed it, the Kin is Microsoft's effort to tailor a phone to the always-connected crowd. The device comes in two flavors, the squat, squarish Kin One and the longer, slightly more powerful Kin Two. The phone was developed and designed by Microsoft, manufactured by Sharp, and is sold in the U.S. on Verizon's network. It runs a variant of Windows Mobile, though not quite the same version being used in the … Read more
With music, there's no bright line between art and commerce. Ever since the dawn of mass media, when big-band radio shows were commercially sponsored, musicians have explicitly endorsed products or allowed their songs to be used in advertisements.
At the same time, there's a notion among some musicians and fans that rock 'n' roll is sacred, and that artists who sell their music to commercial sponsors are less talented or less deserving of fame and fortune. This notion ebbs and flows as the music industry changes and has been particularly strong in certain subcultures--particularly the original punks and … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The fact that Microsoft and Verizon picked a nightclub to launch the Kin tells you a lot about their target market.
The short and squat Kin One and the wider-screened Kin Two are two shapes for the same idea--the mobile phone for those who want to broadcast their every thought, sight, and sound--"lifecasters," as Microsoft's Robbie Bach called them. Although many phones have Facebook or Twitter applications, social networking is at the heart of the Kin. Sharing has its own dedicated green button and is at the center of the Kin experience.
The target demographic is men and women between 15 and 30, said Bach, who runs Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices unit. The two companies said the phones would launch next month, but didn't say exactly when during the month, nor would either company talk at all about pricing.
Aside from their shape, the two devices are very similar. Both are touch-screen sliders running the same software. The Kin Two has a better camera (8 megapixels versus 5MP), double the memory (8GB versus 4GB), and a bigger screen.
These aren't a run at the iPhone. Bach stressed that Microsoft's general smartphone play is the Windows Phone 7 operating system, which will start showing up on devices this fall. In fact, there's not even an app store for Kin users to go to, although Microsoft and Verizon can push updates or add-on programs themselves over the air.
There are several key things built into the Kin, including the first phone implementation of the Zune service. The phones can play Zune video and music that is loaded onto the device from a PC, and Kin owners can also stream music over the air while they're on the go. … Read more
Sniper Strike is a first-person arcade game that manages to drain much of the fun out of a time-honored video-game pursuit: shooting bad guys in the head.
This game's main problem is its clunky interface. You see a small portion of the playfield through your rifle's scope, and you touch and drag to move the terrain around--which varies over the game's two built-in maps, a village and a city. When a target moves into the center of your screen, a small reticle appears over it, and then you tap a touch-screen fire button to shoot. The animations … Read more