Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Motorola's Droid RAZR smartphone available for pre-order from Verizon starting Thursday (10.27)

If you're interested in the Motorola Droid RAZR, it can soon be yours.

The ultra-thin smartphone can be ordered from Verizon started at 8 a.m. EST Thursday, as long as you're willing to part with $299.99 and start a new two-year contract.
The Droid RAZR boasts access to Verizon's very fast 4G LTE speeds, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display, and is only 7.1 millimeters thick. It also features security-focused features like MotoCast, remote wipe, pin lock and government-grade encryption for email, calendar and contacts.

Orders can be made starting at 8 a.m. Oct. 27 at, or customers may also pre-order in stores or by calling 1-800-2-JOIN-IN. Pre-orders of the Droid RAZR will ship no later than Nov. 10.

Here are full specs
130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1 mm

127 g

Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
540 x 960 pixels, 4.3 inches (~256 ppi pixel density)
- Gorilla Glass display
- Multi-touch input method
- Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
- Proximity sensor for auto turn-off

Alert types
Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes

Phonebook Memory
Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Call records
Practically unlimited

16 GB storage, 1GB RAM

Card slot
microSD, up to 32GB, 16GB card included

Yes, v4.0 with LE+EDR

Infrared port No

Yes, microUSB v2.0

Primary 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Touch-focus, geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilization
Video Yes, 1080p@30fps, 480p@120fps

Secondary Yes, 2MP, 720p videos

OS Android OS, v2.3.5 (Gingerbread)

1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, TI OMAP 4430 chipset

SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM


Stereo FM radio with RDS

Games Yes

Colors Black

Yes, with A-GPS support

- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Splash resistant
- HDMI port
- SNS integration
- Digital compass
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail
- YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa integration
- MP3/AAC+/WAV/WMA player
- MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
- Organizer
- Document viewer/editor
- Voice memo/dial/commands
- Predictive text input
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1780 mAh

Up to 204 h

Talk time
Up to 12 h 30 min

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bose unveils new home theater, headphone, Bluetooth products

If you’re a fan of Bose audio products, there is no shortage of news to report, as the company has unveiled several items recently.
Here’s a brief rundown

Bose has introduced its next-generation of on-ear headphones: the OE2 and OE2i audio headphones. The OE2 and OE2i headphones deliver” demonstrably better” audio performance than their predecessors, and feature an updated look and design, according to Bose, which also promise a more comfortable fit.
The OE2i headphones come with an inline remote and microphone that lets owners interact with select Apple products, including the latest iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook, and MacBook Pro models. Users can easily control volume, tracks, and voice applications — and switch between music and calls on an iPhone. The OE2 headphones come with a standard audio cable. In every other way, the OE2i and OE2 headphones are identical, reproducing all genres of music accurately.
The OE2 and OE2i headphones feature an enhanced proprietary TriPort acoustic headphone structure. With redesigned and newly tuned earcup ports, audio reproduction is more balanced and natural. There is no manufactured “boost” across the frequency range; low notes are full and rich, and mid-high frequencies are smooth and clear.
The OE2 and OE2i headphones also feature a new design that’s smaller and lighter, with a slimmer profile. The headphone’s ear cushions, made from memory foam, conform to the user and combine with a redesigned headband for a better, more comfortable fit. Owners can listen for hours — commuting, working or playing — without the irritating pressure points caused by some conventional headphones.
The OE2 and OE2i headphones fold flat for easy storage and protection. With a simple swivel of the earcups, they collapse neatly for carrying in their included case.
The Bose OE2 and OE2i audio headphones (which are not noise canceling) can be used with nearly any audio source. They are available from Bose for $149.95 and $179.95, respectively. They replace the current Bose on-ear headphones, and are available in a choice of black or white.
Bose headphones are sold at select authorized Bose dealers, Bose retail stores,, and toll free at 1-800-444-BOSE (2673).

Bose has introduced the Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2, debuting new Bose technologies to make conversations remain clear and natural even in challenging environments, or when surrounding noise levels change suddenly. The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 integrates Bose full-range audio and A2DP, and comes in right- and left-ear versions.
The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 includes a proprietary dual microphone system to improve speech intelligibility far beyond that of conventional Bluetooth headsets, rejecting background noise and dramatically reducing the audible effects of wind. Bose proprietary signal processing further counteracts the unwanted sounds of a wide variety of places — gusty walkways, commuter rail platforms or airports. Regardless of the environment, the Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 ensures the user’s voice is better heard during calls, while background distractions are heard less.
The new internal antenna in the Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 is custom-designed to provide category-leading range performance. Acoustic artifacts — the “pops,” “clicks” and “buzzes” familiar to Bluetooth headset owners — are substantially reduced, and reception difficulty, even between a headset and a phone being carried in a pocket, is minimized.
Bose engineers have developed separate left- and right-side versions of the Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2, allowing consumers to choose the version they prefer, while enjoying the same easy access to controls.
Taking calls requires just one simple top-to-bottom pinching motion on the buttons, and clearly labeled LED indicators make it easy to check battery life and confirm the Bluetooth connection.
The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 features Bose StayHear tips designed for long-wear comfort and stability, making it ideal for driving, commuting, working or multitasking at home. Made of soft, flexible silicone, the StayHear tips gently conform to the ear, eliminating irritation or the need to reposition.
The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 is compatible with devices using the Bluetooth 2.1 (or earlier) specifications that support the Bluetooth hands-free or A2DP profiles. For consumers who want to maintain an active connection between their headset and two Bluetooth enabled devices, it includes multi-point functionality.
The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 includes a portable zipper case, a one-foot USB cable, a power adapter with fold-flat prongs for easy packing, and three StayHear tips (small, medium, large) for a personal fit. It’s available from Bose for $149.95, and replaces the original Bose Bluetooth headset. The Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 will be sold at select authorized Bose dealers, Bose retail stores,, and toll free at 1-800-444-BOSE (2673).

Bose Introduces Lifestyle 135 System and CineMate 1 SR System
Bose has introduced its first soundbar systems: the Lifestyle 135 home entertainment system and the CineMate 1 SR digital home theater speaker system.
The Lifestyle 135 system includes a media console for up to six HD sources (four HDMI inputs), an AM/FM tuner, and a dock for iPod or iPhone. The CineMate 1 SR system attaches directly to a TV with just one cable. And both feature a programmable remote that controls the system and nearly any connected source, from a Blu-ray Disc player to a cable box.
“Most conventional soundbars are bulky and hard-to-place, or thin but unable to deliver lifelike sound,” said Doug Lankford, Bose Director of Home Theater Product Marketing. “The new Lifestyle 135 and CineMate 1 SR systems deliver a powerful audio experience that defies their size and elegant design -- whether you’re watching a movie, playing a video game, or listening to music.”
The Lifestyle 135 system and CineMate 1 SR system represent the first Bose speakers to feature breakthrough PhaseGuide sound radiator technology, originally used in the company’s VideoWave entertainment system -- the industry’s first high-definition television that integrates a complete home theater sound system behind a 46” 1080p LCD display. Combined with proprietary TrueSpace digital processing circuitry, PhaseGuide technology transforms the listening experience: discrete sound can be heard in places where there are no speakers. Yet, it comes from a single array that measures just 2.4" high, 36.8" wide and 4.9" deep. The new Acoustimass module delivers low notes with cinematic impact.
Unlike conventional soundbars, the Lifestyle 135 and CineMate 1 SR systems have true placement flexibility: they can be positioned near the TV, wherever it is, and in two orientations -- without compromising audio performance.
Bose FlexMountTM automatic placement compensation senses whether the speaker has been placed horizontally on a table, or mounted vertically on a wall. It then automatically adjusts the sound, offering owners two choices for soundbar setup with the same assurance of spacious, natural sound.
The Lifestyle 135 home entertainment system and the CineMate 1 SR digital home theater speaker system are available for $2,499 and $1,499, respectively, and will be sold at authorized Bose dealers, Bose retail stores, and toll free at 1-800-444-BOSE (2673). The Bose WB-135 Wall-Mount Kit is available separately as an accessory.

Some pricey options, but fans of Bose tend to be loyal. I’m curious to see how these items fare.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Note to Netflix: Enough with the apology letters

Just do a better job so you don't have to apologize.

Once the obvious choice for people who wanted movies by mail or streaming, Netflix has had a rough year. Its decision to split its streaming and mail businesses into two entities -- with the unfortunate name of Qwikster for the mail side -- was a big flop, and quickly reversed.

Not to mention the very bad decision to damn near double some rates, causing customers to leave in droves and its stock price to tumble.

There is also the issue of selection on the streaming side -- or lack thereof. If they could get the content that people want on streaming, people would pay a bit more. Without it, they won't.

The point is: Now, there is competition to Netflix, and there didn't use to be.
If they don't start to get their act together, they will no longer be the big dog in the movie streaming and delivery business.

Just for kicks, here is the latest apology note I've received from Netflix:


It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

We're constantly improving our streaming selection. We've recently added hundreds of movies from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM and Miramax. Plus, in the last couple of weeks alone, we've added over 3,500 TV episodes from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, USA, E!, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, A&E, History, and PBS.

We value you as a member, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get your movies & TV shows.


The Netflix Team"

Verizon debuts the Samsung Stratosphere, its first 4G LTE smartphone with a physical keyboard

Verizon Wireless and Samsung Telecommunications America have announced the Samsung Stratosphere, a Galaxy S smartphone, will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at beginning Oct. 13.

The Samsung Stratosphere is the first 4G LTE smartphone from Verizon Wireless equipped with a five-row QWERTY keyboard and designed with Samsung’s four-inch Super AMOLED display. Additionally, the Stratosphere supports enhanced B2B-enabled connectivity services from Cisco, the most comprehensive mobile implementation of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) and support for secure remote device management from Sybase Afaria.

For the business professional, the Stratosphere will support Samsung’s Enterprise Platform enhancements such as VPN, encryption and Mobile Device Management (MDM). EAS includes features such as direct push, email, calendar, contact sync and Global Address List (GAL), as well as EAS policies including storage card encryption, device encryption, and simple and complex password support, all essential for streamlining business on the smartphone.

Key features:

— 4G LTE – customers can expect fast download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G LTE mobile broadband coverage areas

— Five-row QWERTY keyboard

— Samsung Super AMOLED Screen Technology makes watching movies, viewing videos and playing games come to life, even in bright light and outdoor environments

— Android 2.3 Gingerbread – support for Google Mobile Services including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Maps and access to more than 250,000 apps available to download from Android Market

— Samsung 1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor

— Front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and flash (720p HD playback and 480p DVD-quality recording)

— Mobile Hotspot Capability – share 4G connection with up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices or a 3G connection with up to five devices

— AllShare – enables wireless connectivity through Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), so customers can send multimedia content to other DLNA Certified-enabled devices such as TVs and laptops

— Samsung Media Hub – Samsung’s own content service, offering a vast lineup of critically acclaimed films and TV programs for rent or purchase

— Bluetooth 3.0 technology – support for headset, hands-free, stereo, phonebook access, and object push for vCard and vCalendar

— Multiple video file formats supported, including DivX and XviD

— Wi-Fi Connectivity (802.11 a/b/g/n)

Business features:

Samsung’s enterprise mobility solutions will provide flexibility and connectivity for mobile workforces, ensuring that users areable to operate more efficiently on the go.

— Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) – communicate directly with your Microsoft Exchange Server enabling push email, calendar and contacts

— Support for Cisco AnyConnect 2.1 SSL VPN – supports access to private corporate networks using industry-standard VPN protocols with enhanced security of 4G LTE networks helps users tap into VPN networks with no waiting

— Encryption Services – users and IT administrators can initiate a remote wipe command to erase private information

— Support for Sybase Afaria – MDM capabilities allow an integrated experience for the end user in the event it is required by their IT department or corporate policy

Pricing and data packages:

— The Samsung Stratosphere is available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.

— Customers that purchase a Samsung Stratosphere smartphone will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 for monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Tips from Verizon for a smooth transition to the iPhone 4S

1. If you want to keep and transfer your current phone number to your new device, do not cancel your current service provider just yet: Your current account and phone number MUST be kept active until a Verizon Wireless sales representative transfers your current, active number to your new account during the sales transaction. Once this happens, your former carrier will be notified that your account is now terminated, and your friends, family and business contacts can continue to reach you at the same number they all know.

2. Don’t erase your contacts; keep your contacts in your current phone for easier transfer: Depending on your current device, there are applications and programs available to move your contact information to your new phone wirelessly. For example, if you’re already an iPhone user, your contacts will sync automatically via iTunes.

3. Turn that old phone into a gift card, or donate it to a great cause: When you’re making a new purchase, you have two great options for that used phone:

-- Take advantage of the Verizon Wireless trade-in program : Regardless of carrier, Verizon Wireless accept all devices and models. You can use the website ( to get an idea of how much your device is worth and receive a Verizon Wireless gift card for its estimated value.
-- Donate your no-longer-used phone to the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program: HopeLine recycles no-longer-used phones from any carrier and uses the proceeds to provide wireless devices, airtime and grants to local domestic violence shelters. You’ll be helping someone in need and doing your part for the environment.

4. If you’re a new Verizon Wireless iPhone user, save the voicemails from your current phone: the iPhone 4S on Verizon Wireless uses a different voicemail system than other devices. If there are voicemails on your current device that you wish to keep, be sure to preserve them before making the switch. Just follow these instructions to save your important messages.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Steve Jobs changed the way we live

We all knew this day was coming. Pancreatic cancer is serious stuff and is rarely defeated.

But when we heard Wednesday that Apple visionary Steve Jobs died, it was still a shock -- if only because the man has almost always surpassed people’s expectations.

Despite an occasional clunker, the king of all things Apple oversaw some of the biggest tech successes ever and is one of the truly iconic figures of our time, and his reach goes far beyond the realm of tech geeks who argue over gigabytes and screen resolution numbers.

I was often critical of the man, and found some Apple products to be overpriced and overhyped, but that doesn’t change the most important thing about the man and his company – they changed the way we live. Jobs once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe,” and I’m pretty sure he did that on some level.

We take it for granted that ALL our music can be stored on a little tiny machine and listened to via earbuds. That wasn’t the case until a decade ago, when the iPod burst onto the scene and became a phenomenal success. Anyone who wanted to listen to music while working out or just being on the go somewhere now had a viable option. Even with smartphones storing so much music nowadays, the iPod continues to be a success.

In the area of computers, I was not always sold on what Jobs offered – but there’s no denying he made a tremendous impact. He somehow managed to make computers that often cost twice as much as PCs, and somehow still convince a lot of people that it was worth it to buy them. Beyond the technology side, he’s without a doubt one of the greatest businessmen ever in our generation, and this is just one example of why that is so.

Then, of course, there is the iPhone. It is widely recognized as the springboard for the explosion of smartphones that has happened in the past five years. Fresh off a disaster of a phone called the Motorola ROKR (the first cell phone to feature iTunes built in), Jobs put his nose to the grindstone and oversaw the development of what is without a doubt the biggest smartphone name in the business, and will likely continue to be so for a long time. Just look at all the attention to the announcement this week of the latest iPhone … no other company gets that much hype, and no one was better than Jobs at generating a big buzz around his products. And while there is always room to complain some, the iPhones usually deliver pretty well on all the awesomeness Jobs promised (minus an occasional “antennagate” here and there).

Finally, of course, there is the iPad. Jobs no doubt knew he had little time left, and I bet he was most proud of this invention more than any other. Time will tell if the tablet revolution comes about and people start tossing their laptop computers in favor of the handheld devices, but if that day does come it will be Jobs’ latest addition to his legacy. Many people tried tablets before Jobs (just like other had tried mp3 players), but no one had succeeded.

He did, and if he had stuck around this Earth a little longer, I’m guessing he had a few more tricks up his sleeve that we’ll never get to see now.

Beyond all this tech talk, let’s not forget a man is dead. My thoughts are with his family, and I will end with a great quote from Jobs himself, who somehow continued to innovate in the face of an uncertain future and not knowing how much time he had left.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life"-Steve Jobs, 2005

Matt Myftiu can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu.