CNET Tech Review
iCloud, Wii U, and Vita: See what's new from E3, WWDCThis week on the CNET Tech Review: how iCloud will help share your iData; a tour of the show floor at E3; what to look for in a smartphone; and Sony finds it's hard to say "I'm sorry."
-This week on the CNET Tech Review: Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft; everybody had big announcements this week and we have them all covered. Stay here for all the news from E3 and Apple's WWDC. Plus, an all-new Top 5 countdown and the Series 5 Chromebook. It's all coming up right now. Hey everyone! I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech, plus offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the Bottom Line. Let's start with the good. Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this week and there weren't many surprises mostly because Apple gave us the heads up on what to expect ahead of time. No new iPhone, sorry, but lots of software updates including a new service called iCloud, which Steve Jobs says will totally change how you use your iDevices. -So, you like everything so far? Good. Well, I'll try not to blow it. So, I get to talk about iCloud. Now, some people think the cloud is just a hard disc in the sky, right? And you take a bunch of stuff and you put it in your drop box or iDisk or whatever and it transfers it up to the cloud and stores it and then you drag whatever you want back out your other devices. We think it's way more than that, and we call it iCloud. No, iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. So, it automatically uploads it, stores it, and automatically pushes it to all your other devices, but also it's completely integrated with your apps, and so everything happens automatically and there's nothing new to learn. It just all works. It just works. Now, you might ask, why should I believe them? They are the ones who brought me MobileMe. It wasn't our finest hour. Let me just say that, but we learned a lot. Now, the three core apps in MobileMe were contacts, calendar, and mail. Three things we'd obviously like kept up to date. We've thrown them away. We've re-architected and rewritten them from the ground up to be iCloud apps and we put them on all our of devices. So, as an example, in contacts, when I make a new contact on my iPhone, it's automatically brought up to the cloud where it's stored in the cloud, right, the truth is on the cloud and then it's automatically pushed down to my other devices, so they're all in sync. It's that easy. I just update a contact on my iPhone and don't even think about it and that contact is updated on all my other devices and if I change it on any device it's updated on all devices wirelessly, automatically without me doing a thing. We've also added calendar sharing. So, as an example, if I'm sharing a few calendars with my wife, school and soccer calendars, that's it, right, and I add a new calendar for a teacher-parent conference on my phone. It's again automatically pushed up to the cloud and automatically pushed to my wife's iPhone. If she adds-- If she adds an appointment for soccer game, again, goes up to the cloud and back to my iPhone. It's that simple. And then we have mail. Mail was in the best shape of all, but it's even better now. We give you mail account at-- at me.com. Your new messages again are pushed to all your devices, and like we're used to, your inbox and folders are all kept up to date on all devices. So, that's mail, and no adds. We built products that we want for ourselves too and we just don't want adds, so we can't get there. So, these are the 3 apps that formed the core of MobileMe. We used to sell them for a subscription price of $99 annually. As of today, this product ceases to exist and those 3 apps are now gonna be free. -Don't worry MobileMe folks. You'll get a refund, all 52 of you. Now, an iCloud is officially released later this year. It promises to streamline sharing media between all of your connected Apple products, but Sharon Vaknin is here to show you how you can start using some of these services today. -Hey everyone. I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com. Steve Jobs recently announced Apple's new service at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. It's called the iCloud and it finally lets you wirelessly sync your music, books, and apps across all your devices. The full version of iCloud won't be available until fall, but you can start using of these features right now. The whole point of iCloud is that music and other media you purchased on one iDevice can be automatically downloaded onto all your other devices as long as they're using the same iTunes account. To get started using iCloud, you'll need to set it up on each device you want to keep synced. So, gather up all your iDevices like your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. First, go to settings then store. Here you can set your device to automatically download new music, books, and apps you've downloaded on to other Apple devices and Mac or PC. Apple is letting you connect with up to 10 devices. Just switch to different content categories to on and automatic downloading will be enabled. If you're on an iPhone or iPad with a limited data plan, I suggest leaving the option to use cellular data off because if you turn this option on, automatic downloads will be counted against your data plan. If you leave this option off, automatic downloading will then only work when you're connected to Wi-Fi. Now, change the iTunes settings on your computer. iCloud requires iTunes 10.3 or later and you can download it by going to apple.com/itunes. Once you have it, go to preferences then store. Here you have the same options as your iDevices and you can check the items you want to keep synced. So now that I have these settings enabled, if I download a song in iTunes, it will also start downloading on my iPhone or if I download a song on my iPad, it will be added to my library on my computer, but if you're like me, you don't have a lot of storage space left on your device. For my iPhone, I left the automatic downloading off, but since my computer has lots of storage, I kept automatic downloading on for everything. On my iPhone, I'll manually download new content. To do this, go to iTunes then purchase. You'll see a list of all the songs you've bought on any device. To download them, just hit the cloud download button. You can also view songs you've purchased, but haven't put on your device by going to the tab on the right. The same goes for books and apps. For books, open iBooks and head to store then purchase. For apps, go to the app store then updates then purchase except on the iPad where purchase gets its own button. To manage your content in iTunes, go to the iTunes store then purchase in the right side bar. In this screen, you can download previously purchased items at no extra cost. For now, iCloud only supports music, books, and apps, but Steve Jobs explained that the rest of the features like calendar, mail, and photo syncing will come in the fall and we'll get you caught up with those features when they arrive. For cnet.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll you on the interweb. -Be sure to come back next for an in-depth look at iOS 5 or if you can't wait, head over to cnettv.com for more of our coverage from WWDC 2011. Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, E3 kicked off on Monday as well. We got new hardware from Sony and Nintendo, scores of new games available for demos, booth babes, and a dude with muscles the size of Brian Tong's face. Here he is with the wrap-up of all the action. -Hey guys. Brian Tong here at E3 2011 where all eyes are fixed on the video game world. We've got hot hardware announcements from Nintendo and Sony. We've got a lot of booth babes and you always see a few curious suspect things here, but you know what? It's all about the games. They're front and center, so let's check out the floor. In my hand, I have the new controller that's part of the entire Wii U system. Now, when you look at this right of the back, this is unlike any controller we've seen. Some of the games, for example, Shield Pose, that we're gonna show you, offers you an additional window into the world so you can move it around and give you different views within the game that you're playing. Another cool example of how this can be used in different ways is with Chase Me where you kind of see a bird's eye view of a map while other people see a completely different experience with what they're playing. It'll be coming out sometime in 2012, but there you have it; really a nice feeling, a nice hold, and a pretty sleek design. Alright guys, we're inside of Microsoft's booth in their Kinect Pod; and this is year two for Kinect, so we're looking at a lot of new software titles, and apps, and function. One of the features here is inside Kinect Fun Labs, I'm going to be able to make an avatar of what you see here in Kinect Me, so let's just see how good this thing is, alright? You see all this? You see all that up there? Check it out. The Bruce Lee face right there, right? So you can see this obviously looks just like me. It has the big nose. There's a big nose. The hair kinda. Looking for the blondes stripe, but look it's me. Obviously another thing that's big here are the girls at E3. Have you seen any lookers? -Yeah. I'm telling you, they-- they ship 'em all up for some special island or something, man. I don't know what it's about. It's crazy. -Oh! It's so glorious. All the Sam feels so good. Oh my gosh! -Diamond in the rough. A beautiful looking lady in a line waiting for a game. Sometimes, gamer guys are a little socially awkward, sometimes. -Some, yeah-- -Sometimes. -There are some. -So, if you had a tip for like a guy of really like how to get a gamer girl's attention, what-- what do you think? -Don't be scared of women. -In my hand, we have Sony's PlayStation Vita. Now, the first thing that you're gonna notice right off the back, this gorgeous 5-inch OLED display, also the power of the graphics in this handheld, unlike anything we've seen before. They really touted that it was on or almost on the level of PS3 graphics. I'm gonna tell you when I look at this, it's made me a believer. Now, this screen on the front is a touchscreen. It also has a touch panel on the backside that is incorporated in the gameplay for a variety of titles. One of the most anticipated handhelds that I can remember and it feels really light and I can't wait to get my hands on this more. Hi guys. Nothing bigger and badder than Hulk Hogan here at E3. Hulkster. -Yeah! -Did he just cover my face? -Now you see, now you don't. -You-- You just covered my face with your guns. -That's all good. You're the newest Hulk for me. I'm can hide behind you for protection. -Now, another title that we're looking forward to this coming year, Kinect Star Wars. Let's see what this Jedi is all about, baby. Seriously? I could do that. Oh-- What's he doin'? -I guess. -I can do this and do that. -Ah. -Woohoo, what's your name? There you have it. Another successful E3 2011. You know, over the years, we've covered so many things. We've covered great games, gadgets. We've even got to meet a Hulk. What else is there really left to cover? -Oh Brian. Hey! At least Hulk Hogan was willing to give you the time of day. Actually, to see Brian's whole interview with the Hulkster and all the rest of our E3 coverage, take a look over it at cnettv.com. All kinds of good stuff there. And while you're there, you can also find the latest installment of Tap that App. This week, Jessica Dolcourt is on the war path about bland search results. Luckily, she has the solution. -Is it just me or is anyone else bothered by the fact that Google Search returns are so freaking boring? Look at all those plain blue inks. I mean, come on. Blah. Anyway, I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET and I'm gonna show you a far cooler way to search for stuff on your iPhone. This, my friends, is Do@. It's a new free app and it uses the idea of categories to help you narrow down your search, so let's say that you're looking for information about a movie that you wanna see. Just type the title and pick the right shortcut from the list. Instead of waiting through those generic results, Do@ will actually bring you live webpages from popular websites. Just keep swiping through until you find the one that you want. If something's out of place, you can easily delete the ones that Do@ gets wrong. The sites that you 'heart' are the ones that you'll see more often in your results list. Okay, so I mentioned before that the sites are live. That means that you can tap them and interact exactly how you would in the browser. Heck, you can even buy movie tickets if you want. When you're all done, you tap the 'Tab' button in the bottom right to return to the main list. Of course, no app would be complete without sharing options to social networks, and Do@ has those, too. Oh, and Apple also offer to help you install a native app if there is one. There is more than that, too, and I talk about some of the other features in my hands-on review on CNET.download.com so check it out there. If you've got other suggestions for great apps to cover, send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>. I'm Jessica Dolcourt and until next time, keep on tapping. -Now, as with any search app, it's going to work best if you have a good data connection on your phone especially since you'll be waiting for not just one page to load, but several. Maybe you want Wi-Fi. Alright, we've covered a lot of ground already, but there's still plenty more to come. We'll be back for more Tech Review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV. Continuing on in the good, if I do say so myself, one of the best things that we do here at CNET is give good buying advice. With some products like smartphones, there are so many variables that we can only do so much without knowing how you want to use the phone. So, if you're in the market for a new smartphone, this Top 5 countdown should help you figure out how to look for the right one. -Look, I feel for you, buying a smartphone is complicated. You never feel like you really got the right one, I mean I work at CNET for crying out loud. Every time I buy a new phone, I feel kind of sick. I'm Brian Cooley with top 5 things to think about when buying a new smartphone. Inspired by a survey done by business intelligence, they ask people what their number one smartphone buying factor was. At number 5, we're starting off a little wonky, it's data migration. Now, just 3.9% of folks said this is their number one concern, but I think more should have. I mean, how were gonna move your contacts, calendar, media, photos, messaging, history, account settings from whatever you carry now to your new smartphone. Well, check CNET TV and google around for tips on how to move your stuff from phone to phone. It's different and sometimes barely possible depending on the combo phones in question and pack a lunch. You may end up doing it several times before it gets done right. Number 4, 7.2% of you said carrier. Does like carrier you want offer the phone you want. Now, it would be pretty damn frustrating if you live in Illinois and want to buy a Honda Accord, but they only work on roads in Wisconsin. Sure, you can move, but is it worth it. That's kind of the situation with phones. So, as much as I hate to give the carriers that much power in my life or yours that might be where you wanna start your search. Number 3, surprisingly, is app selection. I say surprisingly because just over 8% of you said this is the top priority, but there's all that hype around apps. Much of what makes a smartphone smart are the apps you load on it, but clearly a lot of folks remember that the web, which all smartphone access, is kind of the ultimate app and oh yeah, phone quality still ranks higher than angry birds, well, for now. Number 2, now we get to some big numbers, is features. 33% of you said this is your number one concern area. This is stuff like resolution, battery life, keyboard type, the camera, the storage, does is support flash, but don't fall for the spec arms race. Is an 8-megapixel camera meaningfully better to you than 5-megapixels. Do you even know? or do you just wanna brag? Can you really see that extra bajillion dots of screen resolution or is a really good screen really good? Read our reviews because we tell you what specs make a real difference and so did the users who tried them as well. Before I get you to the number one thing people cite as their main reason to choose a smartphone, let's look at the one that rank bottom of the list. Price, just 3 percent said price is their biggest concern. That's because price is pretty irrelevant right now. The sweet spot for all the top smartphones is 200 bucks with 2-year activation. A few of them are 100 dollars, a few are 250, maybe 300, but not for long. Expect to pay 2 bills. It's the full cost of your 2-year contract you wanna scrutinize. That's where you'll spend anywhere from a couple of grand to 2400 to pushing $3000. Okay, what's the number one thing most often cited by people buying a smartphone their top concern? 38% say platform, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows phone, WebOS. Phones have made operating systems hot and crucial again. The operating system the phone runs on dictates what is good at in many cases and how the interface looks and feels, the stuff you have to look at and navigate every time you pick up the phone, so you better like it; and platform also determines which tech jihad you've just singed up with, which fanboys will diss you, and the comments your smog techy friends will make behind your back. So, you see, a lot rides on platform. Okay, hopefully this has helped and remember, relax, whatever you get, something better comes out next week. For more top 5's like this, go to top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley, thanks for watching. -So now that you know what you're looking for, let's see how the new HTC Sensation stacks up against your criteria. -Hey, everyone! I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at cnet.com; and I'm here to bring you a First Look at the HTC Sensation 4G. This is T-Mobile's latest Android smartphone and I've really been looking forward to getting my hands on this device ever since I got a sneak peek at it back in spring and the smartphone definitely does not disappoint. What really grabbed my attention first was the design. The smartphone features a 4.3-inch display, but unlike a lot of other 4.3-inch touch devices out there such as the Thunderbolt and the Samsung Droid Charge, the Sensation is pretty slim and not too bulky. It has tapered edges, so it's really comfortable to hold and it has a high quality feel to it which is something I expected from paying 200 dollars for it. The display is also gorgeous. It's a quarter-HD Super LCD, so not quite the caliber of the iPhone's Retina Display or Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus screen, but text and images still look sharp and vibrant on the Sensation screen. There's more to this smartphone than just a good design though. It's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread along with the new version of HTC Sense. Sense is HTC's custom-user experience for Android and they've added some really great features to it. The biggest thing is the new lock screen and now offers applications short-- shortcuts. So, instead of having to unlock the phone, find the app and then launch it, you can just drag the icon to the ring at the bottom and the Sensation automatically goes to the app. You can also feature more content on the lock screen, such as photos and frot stream. Once you unlock the phone, you'll find even more enhancements like this 3D Carousel for your home screens and then improved mail app and widget that provides you with the preview of your messages. Paring all this goodness is what comes dual-core 1.2GHz processor, which has kept the phone running smoothly so far. Say, the T-Mobile G2X which chooses NVIDIA dual-core chipset is slightly faster but the Sensation 4G is still very responsive and it also offers good quality and battery life. The only real downside to the Sensation 4G is the internal memory. There's 4 GB of internal storage but only 1 GB of that is available to the user. T-mobile don't ship the phone with the pre-installed 8 GB microSD card but if you plan on taking a lot of pictures or playing a lot of music or videos, it's worth upgrading to a 32-gigabyte card. All things considered, we think the HTC Sensation 4G is one of the best Android phones out there and worthy of our Editor's Choice Award. T-Mobile has two great Android devices, LG G2X and now this. And if you like Stock Android and want a little more of power, go with the G2X, but I think the Sensation 4G is better for the general consumer because of the design and great user experience. The HTC Sensation 4G will be available starting June 15th for 199.99 on-contract. I'm Bonnie Cha. This has been your first look at the HTC Sensation 4G. -Do we have a winner? Well, like we said, that's up to you and your needs. But if you're looking to go android and you can live without LTE, you can't really go wrong with the Sensation. And with that, let's move on to the bad. Apple isn't the only one with their heads on the clouds these days. Google has actually been there for a while now with their laptops based on the Chrome browser, although this one might be a little ahead of its time. Here's Josh Goldman with a slightly skeptical first look. -Hey, I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor with CNET; and this is a look at the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. It's the first of two laptops, the other from Acer, that runs on Google's Chrome OS. Now, if all you know from operating systems is Windows and Mac. This is nothing like those. While there might be a lot going on under the hood on this thing, to the user, it just appears like a web browser and that's it. There is no software to install or uninstall for that matter. There is no updating. No security to worry about. That's stuff all done automatically. Really, it's about a simple as a computer can get because everything is web based. To go along with the simplicity of the OS, you get a simple computer. The series 5 is powered by an Intel ATOM processor typically found in netbooks, integrated graphics, 2G of memory, and 16G solid-state hard drive. That's plenty of power to stream movies and music, play casual games like Angry Birds and of course run all of Google's productivity apps like docks, mail, and calendar while giving you a potential battery life of up to 8-1/2 hours. It also wakes instantly and boots from off in less than 10 seconds. The thing is if you're used to being able to do a lot of things with your Windows or Mac computer, the shine fades pretty fast from the Chromebook. Working only on the web can be very limiting. For example, editing photos requires that you upload them to a site, edit them, and then download them again. Someone send you a zip file for work that you need to open? Tough. It's not supported, so you'll need to find a website to handle it. One last thing, getting the most from the Chromebook means having a constant web connection. There are a number of offline apps you can take advantage of, but it really limits what you can do when you've got no Wi-Fi access. You can get models with Verizon 3G Mobile Broadband access, but it means getting a data plan to do anything significant. And again, if you're out of range, you're out of luck. I'm Josh Goldman and that's a look at the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. -I'm all for keeping some of music, or documents, or other data in the cloud, but all of it? Let's just say the internet will have to catch up to the Chromebook, although I kinda hope it gets there soon. Let's wrap things up with this week's Bottom Line. When the time came for Sony's press conference at E3 on Monday night, pundits were placing bets on how long it would take for somebody from the company to acknowledge the recent PlayStation network outage and other security reasons. Well, it turns out, not very long. Sony's Jack Tretton addressed the problems right off the top of the presentation and our Kara Tsuboi sat down with him soon after. This isn't the first time that I've come to the stage in an E3 Press Conference with an elephant in the room. -Jack Tretton, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, wasted no time addressing the recent security breach at the Sony PlayStation network at this year's E3 in Los Angeles. -And I want to apologize both personally and on behalf of the company for any anxiety that we've caused you. -Tretton says the breach, which compromised information of up to 77 million users of the PlayStation Network resulting in three weeks of interrupted service in the U.S., could have happened to any company. -Hacking right now is becoming a-- a major, major problem across all facets. So, I think we're confident that we're much more secure than we were before, but there are very few guarantees in life. -But there was some good news announced. New games and new hand-held device, the PS Vita. -You take everything that was in the PlayStation Portable and now it's got a touchscreen, so it feels more like an iPod Touch or an iPhone and it's got much better graphics like a PlayStation 3. -And Sony has made a play for more advanced 3D technology. -This is PlayStation's brand new 24-inch 3D display. It allows two players to each wear 3D glasses and see different images, completely eliminating the need for a split screen. Sony plans to offer the 3D display as a bundle with glasses, a 3D game and HDMI cable. And with a price of $500, it will make it one of the least expensive ways to view HD and 3D movies at home. In Los Angeles, I'm Kara Tsuboi, cnet.com, for CBC News. -The Bottom Line this week: Thanks, I guess. I mean, I'm glad Sony acknowledged the security breaches upfront, but I felt that they most just apologized for the inconvenience of not playing online and not like the inconvenience of the possible identity theft from all the data that was stolen. I don't know. Maybe I just wanted a little more begging for forgiveness or cooler hardware. Alright folks, that's our show. Come back next week for a hands-on look at iOS 5 on an all-new CNET Tech Review and tell them there are tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.