Friday, December 30, 2011

Verizon’s $2 “convenience fee” was a bad idea from the get-go; consumers show they still have some power

Life is all about timing.

As you can imagine, the backlash was plenty. A petition on against the fees had gathered more than 57,000 names by Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TECH TIME REVIEW: Sprint’s HTC EVO Design 4G smartphone brings some top specs for a lower price, but lacks in some areas

The EVO smartphones have traditionally been Sprint’s superstar line – from the original HTC EVO to the more recent HTC EVO 3D. They have featured the top specs, and higher prices too as a result, which people have been pretty willing to pay considering the line’s success.

But the latest EVO bucks that trend. With mid-range specs and a smaller screen, it’s going for a different market – people who want a phone with the EVO name but are on a smaller budget.

I recently spent some time with the EVO Design 4G and I’ll let you know how it measures up to the competition and who might be interested in buying it.


It seems odd to say, but this phone’s 4-inch screen is the smallest in the EVO lineup. That’s actually good news for people who don’t love the humongous screens (4.3, 4.5, 4.7 inches, etc.) that have come to be a standard spec on most new smartphones. This size makes it easier to fit in your pocket and hold in your palm, and makes one-handed use a much more likely proposition for people without big hands. Designwise, it’s nothing too groundbreaking, with a typical candybar design and specs of 4.8 inches x 2.4 inches x 0.5 inches. While it sounds thin at first, in the era of ultra-thin phones like the Droid Razr, half an inch is actually pretty thick in comparison. The weight is a very manageable 5.22 ounces. Like most HTC phones I have tested, the EVO Design 4G was made with sturdy materials and is built to last, unlike some of the phones its competitors often release that feel cheap and plasticky.


One area that is quite impressive on the EVO Design 4G is the qHD capacitive touch display, which measures in at 960x540 resolution. While this falls short of the true HD 720 displays on some other new phones, this is pretty much the next best thing. Videos, games and photos pop off the screen quite vividly.


If you’re looking for a phone whose battery life will knock your socks off, you’re not going to want to go this route. Any major online or downloading activity will suck down the battery quite quickly, compared to other phones that I have tried recently.

There are ways to manage the phone’s settings, though, to make this problem less of an issue.


The EVO Design 4G comes with the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system, and it’s expected to be upgraded at some point to the much anticipated Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) operating system.

Anyone familiar with Android will know that it comes with the ever-growing and extremely versatile Android Market – offering apps and games for all tastes and needs. You also get the Google integration that comes with Android -- Gmail, Google Maps, etc.

As per usual, HTC have overlayed their HTC Sense user interface on top of the basic Android system. I didn’t hate it, in fact there’s a lot to like about Sense, but some elements of this user interface seemed to be too much and at times I wished it had stock Android on it. This is a minor point though, and most users won’t have any concerns about Sense and will enjoy the overall Android experience.


Here’s where things start to look mid-range. You get a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz processor, which is fast, but it’s not dual-core. Single-core in today’s smartphone world is old-school, and this means less ability to multitask quickly or run intensive apps without delays.

You get an 8GB microSD card installed for storage (which you can upgrade to 32GB via microSD card).

The phone runs on Sprint’s 4G network, but that network has not made its way to the area where I was testing the phone (southeast Michigan), so I only was able to experience 3G download and upload speeds.

To read the entire review, click here

TECH TIME REVIEW: Toshiba’s newest desktop computer offerings — the DX735 line — yields impressive results

While laptops and even tablets have replaced the desktop computer for most people, they still are a segment of the computer world that many people desire.

People who tend to use the computer in one place at their home, and want a large screen, quality sound and graphics and overall speedy performance are the most likely to fit this category of buyers. For some of these people, the computer might replace their television.

Toshiba, known for its laptops primarily, has now gotten back into this desktop category after a long absence from producing any models — a decade in fact.

I recently tested out the Toshiba DX375-D3201 All-in-One Desktop, the second desktop model line the company has released since returning to the segment earlier this year, and I’ll let you know how it shapes up with the rest of the desktop market.

Overall, I found it to be a solid all-in-one computer, which has its faults but also costs less than some of the competition in this category, and offers similar performance


First, I have to tell you straight up. This sucker is big and bulky. Nothing portable here.

You’re getting a 23-inch screen, with the CPU built into the back of it (hence “all in one”). It’s similar in design style to Apple’s popular iMac models, but the look is a lot different (an all-black design, as opposed to Apple’s shiny silver look.) It might not be quite as pretty as the iMac, but I’m not too concerned with looks. Performance is what counts for me.

Find a place to put this bad boy, and leave it there … it’s not gonna be portable. The minimum weight on the machine is almost 18 pounds. Overall dimensions are 25.6” x 7.50” x 17.3”.

The DX375 comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse.


Perhaps the best use of a screen this size is media viewing. You can watch movies via the Internet through services like Netflix, on a screen that’s pretty much approaching the size of your actual television. No squinting at a netbook screen here. And the native support for full-HD content, due to its 1920x1080 resolution, will make your media viewing that much more enjoyable. Same goes for playing video games – the large size of the screen will enhance your experience.

Oh, and by the way, that 23-inch screen is also a touchscreen, if you’re into that. I did not find myself using it for that feature too often, but it is definitely a cool option to have.


Everybody wants their computer to move fast, whether you’re using it for work or play. The DX375 line of desktops doesn’t disappoint in that area. My review model featured a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5-2430M dual-core processor that allowed me to zip through whatever I was doing. More advanced models feature and even faster Core i7 processors – and both the i5 and i7 processors are of the latest Intel chip technology (known as the Sandy Bridge line)

To read the entire review, click here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NFL playoff games, including Super Bowl, will be available via live online streaming, and via NFL Mobile app on Verizon

If you like to catch your sports online, you're in luck this year. The Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and other NFL playoff games will be available for live streaming on and, and can be seen on NFL Mobile on Verizon smartphones. This is the first year for these online offerings in connection with the NFL playoffs.

The live and coverage will come from NBC’s TV coverage of the games. Complementing that stream will be a number of extra features to enrich the viewing experience including additional camera angles, in-game highlights, live statistics and other interactive elements.

In addition, NFL Mobile only from Verizon will stream the broadcast of NBC’s Postseason games, for the first time using a mobile application.

“We are pleased to work with our partners NBC and Verizon to bring our fans more ways to watch their favorite sport during their favorite time of the year,” said Hans Schroeder, NFL Senior Vice President of Media Strategy and Development.

To learn more about NFL Mobile, visit

OPINION: Government suggestion to ban use of hands-free cellphones by drivers is ridiculous, overreaching

Any time “the government” tells us we shouldn’t do something, I get nervous.

Deep down, they might have good reasons and want to help us, but it almost always leads to overreaching and unnecessary rules being imposed on the public.

That very much holds true for the announcement last week that a U.S. panel (the National Transportation and Safety Board) – which thankfully can only make recommendations and not actually impose laws on the public – has recommended that all 50 states pass a law banning the use of cell phones in cars completely – not just in the hand, but also hands-free use of the devices.

To a point, they are right. Every state should ban drivers from texting while driving, and even from making phone calls with the device in hand. This is inherently dangerous.

But extending a ban to hands-free devices is ridiculous on many levels.

For one, hands-free devices have become part of our lives over the past decade, to the point where that can’t be undone. Are you going to ban people from using all Bluetooth headsets in the car? There are millions of them out there. OnStar and other equipment comes now built into cars so you can use your voice to do almost anything on the newer vehicles coming out. This is great technology that actually makes things safer on the roads, as you never have to pick up any phones to do what you need to do.

Also, there is just too much money invested by companies in the hands-free market. You can’t tell companies to make devices safe by making them hands-free, then change your mind and tell them even those are not safe. It’s just ridiculous, and even worse it’s not true.

Using a hands-free device is no different than talking to someone in the car. And obviously that can’t be banned.
What’s next? Banning radios, as looking down to change the station might cause an accident?

Of course that won’t happen, because it’s ridiculous.
And so is the suggestion to ban all hands-free use of cellphones in the car.

It’s a ridiculous rule suggestion by a group that is definitely overreaching. Luckily, the states should be smart enough to realize that it will never happen, so the recommendation should go unheeded.

Bans on texting and other use of electronics are good. This recommendation is not.
If anything, the government should be focusing on ways to improve hands-free technology to make it even safer, not trying to get rid of it – because they are just fighting a losing battle.

It’s here to stay.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TECH TIME REVIEW: Motorola Atrix 2 smartphone offers AT&T customers a lot of bang for the buck

It seems like not long ago when AT&T first unveiled the Motorola Atrix, which was one of the first phones capable of using a lapdock to turn into a sort of netbook. That’s because it was not long ago, just earlier this year, in fact.

But things move fast in this industry, and with so many new phones coming out each month, the Motorola Atrix 2 – its sequel – is already on the market. After all, a nine-month old smartphone might as well be a dinosaur these days; got to keep up with the times.

The Atrix 2 features a slightly different design, improved camera and videocamera, a better processor, and better battery life, among other changes, plus a very nice price. I’ll take a look at how it compares to the rest of the smartphone market.


Nothing fancy in this department. You have the typical candybar look, and typical big screen (4.3 inches) that is on most new phones. The weigh is decent, just 5.18 ounces, so it won’t be too heavy a load. Overall dimensions are 4.96 inches x 2.59 inches x 0.4 inches. Most notable there is the 0.4 inch thickness; one of the thinnest numbers out there (though some phones do beat it)


The 4.3-inch screen features a bright 540x960 qHD resolution that does not disappoint. If you like to view media or play games on your phone, this bright screen will be very welcome. While overall the touchscreen was very responsive, one issue I ran into is that when using some apps, the touchscreen sometimes was not as responsive as I would have liked down in the corner areas of the screen.


This is a 4G phone, meaning fast downloads on AT&T’s 4G network. Be aware though, this is still one of the phone’s on AT&T’s HSPA+ 4G network, which is not as fast as its LTE 4G network. Some other phones being released are LTE compatible, so if you want the absolute fastest network from AT&T, you might want to opt for a different model.

To read the full review of the Atrix 2, click here.

TECH TIME REVIEW: Motorola DROID Razr is an extra thin, extra fast, extra impressive smartphone

The DROID line of smartphones has had its share of star phones, and has come a long way since Motorola’s original Droid was released just a couple years back.

The new Motorola DROID Razr (which resurrects a big name from smartphones past, the popular Razr flip phone) is being marketed as one of the fastest and best Droids yet, and comes with the option for some very cool accessories. But does it live up to the hype?


One factor that influences people’s phone buying is the look of their phone. And I have to say that it’s hard not to like the design of the Razr. It’s got a slim, attractive build (only 7.1 mm thick, the thinnest phone on the market). It’s so thin and light (only 4.48 oz.), at times I even forgot I was holding it. (One side effect of this design is the lack of a removable battery, but that shouldn’t be a concern for most people).

It also has a very high quality build, with a Gorilla Glass touchscreen, plus a KEVLAR reinforced backplate. This is in contrast to some other smartphones that operate great, but feel cheap to the touch. The Razr will take abuse and survive, I can say with confidence.

4G Speed, Processor In order to succeed in this quickly evolving smartphone market, you have to be speedy. And the Razr is no slouch in this department. For starters, it’s on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the fastest in the business, and you’ll be able to download apps and upload/download media with blazing speeds – some of the fastest I’ve seen on the new crop of 4G phones.

Complementing the 4G speeds is a very fast dual-core 1.2 GHz processor; among the best specs on the market. What this does is allow for multitasking without any major delays, so whatever you’re doing you won’t be waiting around for long for it to work.

To read more of this review, and see a video, click here

TECH TIME REVIEW: Does the iPhone 4S live up to the hype?

The world of smartphones has some very unique setups. You have the seemingly endless array of Android-based phones, which collectively lead the market but don’t have one dominant superstar.

Other systems, like Windows Phone or Blackberry, also rely on a group attack, though they are much less successful.

And finally, we have Apple – who takes a whole different tactic: Release 1 phone, the mythical iPhone, every 12-15 months and sell a ton of them.

The latest shiny new smartphone from Apple is the iPhone 4S, which wasn’t changed enough from the iPhone 4 in some people’s minds, but still offers some very impressive updates.

I recently tested the Verizon edition of the iPhone 4S (it’s also on AT&T and Sprint), and here’s a quick look at what it has to offer.


In terms of shape and size, the iPhone 4S is pretty much identical to the iPhone 4. Its 3.5-inch screen is smaller than most new phones being released these days, which will be good news for some people who don’t want a huge screen and bad news for people who do want that extra real estate.

I must credit Apple for the high quality of the materials used on the iPhone 4S. The glass used on both front and back make it much less likely you’ll cause any to the phone.

There had been rumors that the iPhone 4S would get a larger screen and become more flat and wide, like an iPod Touch style, and I really wish that would have happened. One of my biggest knocks on the iPhone line is the smaller screen, which I’m not a fan of. I would prefer at least a 4.0 inch screen (no need to delve into 4.3 or higher like Android does, but 3.5 is just a little too small for my tastes, especially when it comes to typing on the on-screen keyboard.)

To continue reading the full review, including a video, click here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

T-Mobile offering last-minute shoppers deals with the “4G Super Sale” on Dec. 17–18

On Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec.18, T-Mobile USA, Inc. will continue to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with the “4G Super Sale.”

For two days only, consumers will have the opportunity to select any phone or specified mobile broadband device — including the new T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot and G-Slate — for $0 net down payment, after a mail-in rebate card, when they sign up for a new two-year agreement on a qualifying plan.
“T-Mobile wants to give last-minute shoppers one more chance to get a great deal for their holiday shopping,” said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile USA. “We want to make the best data devices accessible to all, and what could be better than being able to find the right device to give a loved one at a great price?”

Following this year’s holiday promotions on “Magenta Saturday” and Black Friday, which saw double the sales expected, customers have the opportunity to get T-Mobile’s latest hot devices for a great deal — in this case, $0 net down. T-Mobile’s “4G Super Sale” includes, among other devices, the HTC Radar 4G, Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Amaze 4G, T-Mobile myTouch Q, BlackBerry Torch™ 9810 and the new T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot.

The “4G Super Sale” will be available nationwide on Dec. 17–18 at participating T-Mobile retail stores. For more information about T-Mobile’s “4G Super Sale” and qualifying Unlimited Value plans, visit T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network not available everywhere. See more details at

Monday, December 12, 2011

Still shopping for tech gifts?: Here's a holiday gift guide with suggestions from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Microsoft + more

Gadgets are popular all year long, but come holiday season they are in even higher demand. Smartphones, tablets, cameras, video games and other high-tech machines are selling like hotcakes, and there’s a lot of options to consider.
With so much out there, here is a comprehensive guide to what’s available to you this holiday season to buy for that tech-lover in your family.

DROID RAZR by Motorola; The world’s thinnest 4G LTE smartphone. 4.3-inch hyper-vibrant display due to its qHD resolution. Stream content from Netflix or rent from Android Market. Webtop application allows customers to combine the device with separately sold accessories, like the Lapdock 100 or HD Station, unleashing the power to edit documents and browse the Web with a full Firefox browser on a larger screen.
GALAXY NEXUS; Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is the world’s first smartphone running on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Exclusively for Verizon Wireless, the Galaxy Nexus will be available later this year from Verizon. New features that Ice Cream Sandwich offers include Face Unlock, which uses facial recognition to unlock the Galaxy Nexus. The phone has a large 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display, with 1280 x 720 resolution, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1GB RAM.
HTC REZOUND: For the music lover; this is the only phone in the United States with Beats Audio integration. Also features a 4.3-inch true HD 720p display. HTC Watch puts an entire library of the latest premium movies and TV shows right at your fingertips, using a wireless connection,
Key features: Access to Verizon’s very fast 4G LTE network, NVIDIA Tegra2 dual-core 1 GHz application processor, 10.1-inch HD touchscreen display with WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution, 3-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat capabilities
Xoom 4G tablet
Faster speeds and connections enhance the Motorola XOOM experience, allowing customers to download songs in seconds and movies in minutes.
10.1-inch widescreen HD display; 32 GB built-in storage; Android 3.2 Honeycomb; dual-core 1 GHz processor; 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats over 4G LTE, 3G and WiFi; 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash
Visit for pricing information on these devices and details on data plans.

Jawbone UP: A new system that tracks your movement, sleep patterns, and eating habits and puts that information in the palm of your hand. It cost $99 and is currently only compatible with the iPhone.
Free Xperia Play 4G (with 2-year contract): Combines a PlayStation-certified gaming device with the capabilities and portability of an Android smartphone. The Xperia PLAY 4G has dedicated gaming controls built into the phone through a slide out controller. Features a brilliant 4” 480 x 854 screen and stereo speakers.
Samsung Focus: The Samsung Focus is a slim and stylish touchscreen phone with the Windows Phone’s customizable start screen and intuitive user interface. The Windows Phone platform integrates with your favorite applications so that you don’t miss a moment. The Windows Phone 7 software features robust Xbox LIVE integration with LIVE games, avatars and profiles. $29.99 with 2-year contract,
LG Thrill – For $99.99 (with 2-year contract), The LG THRILL 4G offers the ability to view, create and share in 3D on a glasses-free 3D display. LG THRILL 4G features a 1 GHz dual-core, dual-channel RAM processor for the ultimate in performance when playing 3D games, shooting 3D video, or uploading 3D content. Featuring rear-facing dual five-megapixel stereoscopic 3D cameras, LG THRILL 4G gives users the ability to shoot 720p video in 3D and capture crystal clear stills.
Visit for more information on AT&T products.

FOR THE TECHY: Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch - $199.99 with 2-year contract. 4.52” Super AMOLED Plus display, 3G/4G speeds video chat capability, a speedy processor, dual cameras and the ability to share HD content via DLNA output.
FOR THE MOVIE BUFF: HTC EVO 3D — $199.99 with 2-year contract. Create and stream HD video, view it in 3D and share it easily with glasses-free 3D technology. Quickly download movies and enjoy a Flash-enabled web browsing experience that takes advantage of the speed of the Sprint 3G/4G network.
FOR THE WORLD TRAVELER: Motorola PHOTON 4G — $199.99 with 2-year contract; provides on-the-go users with an edge in managing their lives, from anywhere in the world. Has a 4.3” qHD display, dual cameras, worldwide GSM capabilities, and a kickstand for easy hands-free viewing.
FOR THE FASHIONISTA: LG Marquee - $99.99 with 2-year contract; LG Marquee is an mobile device for anyone who wants superior performance without sacrificing personal style. The sleek, ultra-thin smartphone features a 4-inch NOVA display and a virtual QWERTY keyboard.
FOR THE EARTH-LOVER: Samsung Replenish – Free with 2-year contract, at First eco-friendly Android smartphone from Sprint.
FOR THOSE WITH FEAR OF COMMITMENT: For those looking to ring in the holiday season without the fear of commitment, Sprint also offers the option of no contract wireless service with something for everyone on your holiday list with phones from Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.
Visit for more information.

PowerShot SX150 IS camera — $249.99; 12x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom and 28mm lens with Optical Image Stabilizer reduces camera shake. 14.1 Megapixel sensor and Canon DIGIC 4 Image Processor. Capture 720p HD video in stereo sound with the dedicated movie button and zoom while shooting. Large 3.0-inch LCD enables easy viewing. AA battery power.
PowerShot ELPH 310 HS — $259.99; Ultra-slim camera with 28mm Wide-Angle lens, 8x Optical Zoom, and Optical Image Stabilizer. 12.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor. Strong low-light performance. Full HD 1080p video in stereo sound with a dedicated movie button; zoom while shooting and play back videos on an HDTV via the HDMI output; High-Speed Burst Mode allows continuous shooting and Super Slow Motion Movie records video at high speeds to allow playback in slow motion;
PowerShot SX40 HS — $429.99; 35x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom (24-840mm) with Optical Image Stabilizer delivers magnificent images whether you are up close or far away.
12.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor; Capture Full HD 1080p video in stereo sound;2.7-inch wide Vari-Angle LCD enables easy viewing from any angle.
Visit for more information.

Value plans
Available with a two-year agreement for both new and existing customers, the Value Plans offer single-line and multiple line options with the ability to choose from a range of minute allotments, texting options and unlimited data with 2GB, 5GB or 10GB of high-speed data. With a Value Plan, customers can choose a plan that works with their needs starting price point of only $49.99 — without the worry of data overages.
HTC Amaze 4G
Aimed at smartphone enthusiasts looking for a high-end, premium device, Sporty design with a sleek look and feel. Very fast 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, can access T-Mobile’s faster 4G (HSPA+ 42) network technology. Android 2.3; HTC Sense user interface, 8-megapixel camera and 1080p HD video recorder.
The HTC Amaze 4G is available for $259.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate card with a two-year service agreement and qualifying Classic voice and data plant.
Samsung Galaxy S II
Fast entertainment experience. Powered by Android 2.3 and a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and featuring a 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus touch screen. T-Mobile customers will be able to enjoy live or on-demand mobile entertainment.
With DLNA compatibility and HDMI out, this phone offers the ability to view content on a compatible HDTV. The Samsung Galaxy S II is $229.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate card with a two-year service agreement and qualifying Classic voice and data plan.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Weighing just 1.24 lbs. and featuring a 10.1-inch HD display, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from T-Mobile is one of the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablets on the market. With access to T-Mobile’s 4G network, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from T-Mobile offers a high-end mobile entertainment experience. 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processo; Android 3.2 (Honeycomb);
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is available for $399.99 net down payment after $50 mail-in rebate card, with a T-Mobile Value Mobile Broadband plan, two year service agreement.
HTC Radar 4G
HTC Radar 4G is T-Mobile’s first 4G device running the Windows Phone operating system. Featuring a sleek design with metal unibody construction, the handset has a white finish and a 3.8-inch touch screen display. Running the newest version of Windows Phone and powered by a 1 GHz processor paired with T-Mobile’s 4G network, the handset is designed to provide customers with an intuitive user experience. The smartphone will support fully integrated Exchange e-mail and calendar so customers can stay productive while on-the-go throughout the busy holiday season. Making a great travel companion, the Windows Phone will also come equipped with turn-by-turn navigation and an advanced 5-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash. The HTC Radar 4G is $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card with a two-year service agreement and qualifying T-Mobile Classic voice and data plan.
LG DoublePlay: Stand out with a distinct design with this new LG smartphone – the newest 4G smartphone to join T-Mobile’s growing lineup of Android™ phones. The LG DoublePlay is targeted at multitasking and messaging. The unique design features dual touch screen displays to perform two functions at the same time, as well as a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
DoublePlay is powered by a 1 GHz processor and comes equipped with a 5-megapixel camera and 720p HD video recorder for capturing and sharing memories on the go. Available for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate with a qualifying Classic plan and two-year service agreement.
For more information on all these products, visit

Xbox 360 “Gears of War 3” Special Edition Bundle: Designed by Microsoft and Epic Games, this bundle features two custom-designed Xbox 360 wireless controllers, a 320GB hard drive, a built-in Wi-Fi connection for easier connection to the world of entertainment on Xbox LIVE and custom “Gears of War” console sound effects. The package also includes a standard edition copy of “Gears of War 3” plus bonus digital content.
Price: $399.99
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010
Including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 offers the latest essentials to help families stay on top of everything — from organizing meals, and budget tracking to travel planning and calendar coordination. Price: $199
Arc Touch Mouse
The Arc Touch Mouse is the first mouse designed to flatten for portability and pop up for comfort, featuring a touch scroll strip to swiftly navigate your PC. You can use it on almost any surface, even your jeans.
Price: $59.95
LifeCam Studio
Microsoft LifeCam Studio delivers superior sharpness and excellent image quality as Microsoft’s first webcam with a True 1080p HD sensor. When people can’t attend an important life moment in person, LifeCam Studio delivers the closest thing to being there.
Price: $99.99
Visit for more information.

Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker — The SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker is a portable speaker that connects wirelessly to any Bluetooth enabled device. Now, the music from a smartphone or tablet can be streamed at the touch of a button and played out loud anywhere — on a quality Bose speaker. Price starts at $299.95.
Bose OE2 and OE2i audio headphones
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. Music is reproduced with improved depth and clarity, and the new contoured styling creates a closer, 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. They are available from Bose for $149.95 and $179.95, respectively.
Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2
The new Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2 debuts new Bose technologies and claims to offer an experience unrivaled in the vast marketplace of Bluetooth headsets: 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. It is available from Bose for $149.95.
Visit for more information.

HP Mini 210 matching mice and sleeves
These mini mice and sleeves are perfect gifts for the many Secret Santa exchanges in the months to come. All mice and mini sleeves start under $20.
HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse
No more dealing with tangled cords! The HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse is the first mouse that connects to a computer without any pesky USB dongle. It stays connected up to 30 feet away from your PC. Starts at $49.99.
HP Mini 210
Aimed at people on the go. Small enough to fit in a purse or bag and offered in a variety of fun colors, this slim PC keeps you connected in style. The Mini 210 comes with Beats Audio for superior audio quality on the go, a comfortable near-full size keyboard and QuickWeb for connecting to the Web, Facebook or Skype within seconds of powering up. The HP Mini 210 starts at $299.99.
HP TouchSmart 320
HP TouchSmart 320 is an all-in-one PC that provides a free-standing, tilt-enabled 20-inch touch display for interactive viewing and play. Families will experience endless entertainment with the TouchSmart 320’s range of built-for-touch apps, TV tuner and Beats Audio. Starts at $599.99.
HP Pavilion dv6 with Beats Audio
Planning on rocking out to Jingle Bells this holiday season? Kick your audio up a notch with the HP Pavilion dv6 featuring Beats Audio. The dv6 also features a sleek umber metal finish, HD TrueVision webcam and HP CoolSense Technology. Starts at $599.99. Available at
For those seeking the ultimate multimedia experience, the HP ENVY 17 3D offers the best 3D visual experience in a notebook PC. In addition to sporting six powerful speakers, a subwoofer and Beats Audio for premium audio, the ENVY 17 3D provides the industry’s largest full 3D Radiance display, 100 percent brighter than standard and 1080p full HD viewing. Starts at $1,599.99
Note, for last-minute shoppers, gifts can be purchased and delivered overnight with HP’s quick ship option available on

Kodak HERO 7.1 All-in-One Printer ($179.99): turn the images on your camera or smartphone into quality prints that will last a lifetime. This season, with Kodak’s new Google Cloud Print and Kodak Email Print capabilities (each printer comes with its own unique email address); send a picture of the family on Christmas morning directly from your smartphone to Grandpa’s printer! He will be able to share in the moment almost instantly.

Kodak PlayFull Waterproof Video Camera ($99.95): PlayFull Waterproof gives you full 720p HD video in a small, affordable package. About the size of a credit card, it fits easily in a pocket or purse. Kodak’s exclusive Share Button and pop-out USB arm make it simple to email videos directly to friends or upload to your favorite sharing sites.

Kodak EasyShare Touch Camera ($159.95): a 16 MP digital camera with a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen lets you shoot and share photos and video with ease and style. The EasyShare Touch also has Kodak’s exclusive Share Button, so sharing with social media networks is easy

Kodak Gallery iPhone Cases (starting at $34.99): your iPhone will stay safe in a photo case that is shatter-proof, scratch-resistant, and attractive. You’ll be able to recognize your iPhone instantly with your personal photo embedded directly onto the case.

Dell XPS 14z:
World’s thinnest, fully featured laptop with a built-in DVD player. Packs 2nd Gen Intel Core processors into a 13” body. Up to 6 hours 42 minutes of battery life. Roomy 14” HD display with edge-to-edge glass and an ultra-thin frame. And it all comes in a compact form roughly the size of a 13” laptop. Anodized aluminum body.
Starts at $999

Dell XPS 15z:
One of the thinnest 15” laptops on the planet; 2nd Gen Intel Core processors; Powerful NVIDIA graphics and super bright display options;
Starts at $899

Inspiron One 2320:
The Inspiron One 2320 all-in-one desktop, with its 23” HD touch-screen, HD Webcam, sleek, space-saving design and superior audio quality, allows families to stay connected in the home. A wireless keyboard and just one power cord creates a clean, clutter-free area allowing for the desktop to double as a home entertainment center and as a central computing hub.
Starts at $599

Alienware M14x:
The M14x lets you power through hard-core games and intense applications. Featuring NVIDIA Optimus technology and weighing less than 7lbs.
Starts at $1,099

Alienware M17x:
Alienware’s first 3D capable gaming laptop, the M17x will make your 3D games and Blu-ray content look incredibly real.
Optional 17”, full high-definition (HD) 1080p display.
Starts at $1,499
Visit for more information.

Ferndale, Michigan-based Livio Radio has been one of the leading innovators for several years now in the area of Internet Radio, . A new Livio product in this area takes us to the automobile, where its new Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit (aka “The Kit”) acts as a connector between your smartphone and your car stereo, using Bluetooth A2DP technology. So basically, the music from your phone streams to the car’s stereo.
Visit for more information about The Kit.

Toshiba Thrive Tablet
Similarly sized by lower priced than most of its tablet competitors, the Thrive offers an option for people who are willing to go without a data contract and just use Wi-Fi on their tablet.
Powered by Android 3.1 Honeycomb, the Thrive Tablet offers a convenientway to connect, browse and enjoy videos, movies, games, photos, books and more. 10.1-inch diagonal high-resolution (1280x800); multi-touch LED backlit widescreen display. USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port and an SD Card slot, give consumers the ability to easily sync and share their content with other devices. User-replaceable backplate and battery
Price: $379-$479

Toshiba Portégé Z835 Ultrabook
The consumer counterpart to the Portégé Z830, the Portégé Z835 features a 0.6-inch profile and weighs less than 2.5 pounds and offers consumers intelligent features and superior craftsmanship at an equally attractive price point. Built with a spill-resistant backlit keyboard and with the USB Sleep & Charge and Sleep & Music features.
Key Features: 13.3-inch widescreen HD LED-backlit display (1366x768 resolution); Hi-Speed Start Technology; 128GB Solid State Drive.

Toshiba TL515 3D LED HDTV
3D performance, sophisticated styling and affordability. Toshiba’s TL515 delivers eye-popping movies and games in 3D, plus brilliant full 1080p HD imagery in 2D. Equipped with Gaming Mode to reduce controller delay, makes this offering perfect for gaming enthusiasts.
Key Features: 1080p Resolution; Available in 32-inch, 42-inch, 47-inch and 55-inch screen sizes; Built-in Wi-Fi and NetTV with Yahoo! widgets
Price: $849-$1799

There is, or course, much more, but these are a lot of the highlights in the tech world. Keep it in mind as you are out hunting for your holiday tech goodies. Do you research; as a gift is forever.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at or 248-745-4617. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu or become a fan of the Facebook page “OPTechTime” to see the latest technology news and reviews..

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Verizon unveils newest 4G tablet offerings – Motorola’s DROID XYBOARD Tablets

There’s some new competition in the tablet world, with the introduction of a couple new models from Motorola.

The DROID XYBOARD 10.1 and DROID XYBOARD 8.2 are now available from Verizon Wireless, with access to the Verizon 4G LTE wireless network.

The DROID XYBOARD tablets feature the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system and a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor. An upgrade is scheduled later on to the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

Verizon claims download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps, via its 4G network.

Additional features for DROID XYBOARD tablets:
--10.1-inch and 8.2-inch high-definition display for DROID XYBOARD 10.1 and DROID XYBOARD 8.2 respectively
--Mobile Hotspot Capability – share 4G LTE connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices, for an extra monthly fee
--5-megapixel rear-facing HD cameras with digital zoom, autofocus and LED flash
--1.3-megapixel HD front-facing cameras for video chatting with friends and family
--Dijit app allows DROID XYBOARD tablets to double as a universal remote control with an electronic programming guide for TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, digital video records (DVR), and most other consumer electronics

-- The DROID XYBOARD 10.1 will be available in three models: 16 GB for $529.99 and 32 GB for $629.99. The 64 GB model will be available online for $729.99. These prices come with a new 2-year customer agreement.
-- The smaller DROID XYBOARD 8.2 will be available in two models: 16 GB for $429.99 and 32 GB for $529.99, both with a new two-year customer agreement.

Customers that purchase a DROID XYBOARD tablet will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Mobile Broadband data plan starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Visit for more information about the new tablets.

Logitech Revue experience improves with new version of Google TV

A software update of the Android 3.1 platform has made its way to the Logitech Revue with Google TV boxes.

Revue users simply need to accept the update that pops up onto their TV screen, similar to how upgrades happen on smartphones.

Among the key upgrades:
--Access to Android Market; which brings a lot more options for games and apps for your television.
--Faster and more comprehensive search and browse capabilities
--A simplified user interface,
--Improvements to the Logitech Media Player.

Among the apps now accessible via the Revue is Google Music, where can access all the music you’ve stored in the cloud. (up to 20,000 songs can be stored, so basically all your music collection.) This basically turns your TV into your stereo, which is very cool.

There are only about 50 apps optimized for HDTV at the outset, but that number is expected to grow. To be honest, the concept of apps for the television is a very cool one, and I’m curious to see how it all develops. Having played some games on the new system already, I can definitely say it’s a very fun experience.

I’ll report back with more on this upgrade after I play with it more, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction, as the area of Internet-connected TV continues to grow.