Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday Sales Are the "Best Ever" for Kindle Tablets

On Monday, November 28 Amazon reported that Black Friday sales of its Kindle tablets were the highest that Kindle has ever seen.

"Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family—customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday— and last year was a great year," Vice President of Amazon Kindle Dave Limp said in a statement. "In addition, we're seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles—one for themselves and others as gifts—we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season."

So far, Amazon has not released the exact sales figures from Black Friday, but clearly they are going to be impressive. Of course, it was the Kindle Fire that was at the top of all the Kindle sales charts. Consumers have been pumped about the Kindle Fire since it was first announced by Amazon. In late October the Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said that the day that the Kindle Fire was announced was the “biggest order day ever for Kindle.” He went on to say that the Kindle Fire had doubled the amount of pre-orders from the previous Kindle launch.

Target offered plenty of tablet options on Black Friday including the Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom, Asus Eee Pad and Acer Iconia, but the company reported that the Kindle Fire was the store’s best-selling tablet this past Friday.

Best Buy also reported impressive sales of the device. Wendy Fritz, senior vice president of computing, tablets, and e-readers at Best Buy, commented on Kindle Fire sales saying, "If this Black Friday was any indication, they are only getting hotter as we get into the shopping season."

In general Black Friday shopping online and in-store went up from last year. "Despite some analysts' predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. "With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it's clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels."

Data has just been released from a survey that was conducted by the National Retail Federation showing that there was an estimated total of 226 million shoppers this year compared to 212 million in 2010. According to the NRF, the brick-and-mortar and online shopping totals are the highest that they have been in the past five years.

"Each of the top online retailers generated significantly greater Black Friday activity compared to last year," said Fulgoni, in a statement. " once again led the pack, with 50 percent more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year. However, it is telling that the top multi-channel retailers also showed strong growth in visitors, demonstrating the importance of the online channel to the retail industry as a whole."

"Consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend this holiday season, but are far from throwing caution to the wind when it comes to how much they will spend on gifts," said Phil Rist, executive vice president at BIGresearch, in a statement. "Retailers will have to stick to an aggressive holiday promotion schedule to keep consumers interested."

Sources: PCMag - Amazon Reports 'Best Ever' Black Friday Kindle Sales, PCMag - Black Friday Spending Up 16.4% From 2010 and PCMag - Nov. Online Spending up 15%; Black Friday, 26%

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook Available Now Online

Toshiba Portege Z830Toshiba's new Portege Z830 Ultrabook, a device that the company is touting as the world's lightest 13" laptop, is now available online for everyday consumers at A total of four different models of the Portege Z830 are available now with a base price of $929. However, customers do have the option of building their own, though that starting price is slightly more expensive at $1,099.

The configurable model, as well as the other two higher-end models (priced at $1,199 and $1,429 respectively), is considerably more expensive than competing Ultrabooks like the Acer Aspire S3, which sells for $899. However, the extra cash you spend entitles you to a bunch of upgrades including an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, Windows 7 Professional, a three-year warranty, Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader and, for those who cash in on the $1,429 model, 6GB of memory over the standard 4GB. Still, Acer offers a beefed-up model of the Aspire S3 with an Intel Core i7 processor and 256GB SSD for only $1,299.

You can also pick up a less expensive edition of the Toshiba Portege Z830, known as the Z835. In addition to being more affordable, the Z835 is also the lightest Ultrabook on the market, hands down. Many reviews have stated that the weight difference between the Portege Z835, other Ultrabooks and Apple's MacBook Air is immediately noticeable. The Portege weighs 2.4 lbs while the 13" MacBook Air weighs 2.96 lbs.

There is also an exclusive Best Buy Portege Z835 that is priced at $799. If you compare Toshiba's $929 Z835-ST8305 and the $929 Z935-P330 models against Best Buy's version, you won't find any significant differences in terms of specs so the Best Buy model may be your best bet. All three models offer the same 1,366 x 768 resolution on a 13.3" display and come with an Intel Core i3-2367M processor, 4GB of memory and a 128GB solid state drive.

The Z835 does have some other things going for it, however, aside from light weight, like a full array of full-sized ports, a backlit keyboard and a solid state drive. If you want to get one in time for the holidays, head on over to Toshiba's Portege Z830 website. Toshiba says that the devices will ship in about three to four weeks.

Source: PCWorld - Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook Now Available Online

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A T-Mobile iPhone 4S is Only One Hack Away

T-MobileThe iPhone 4S has already outdone its predecessors by making itself available with three different carriers, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, but it seems as if some hackers didn't think that three carriers was quite good enough. So you know what they did? They hacked the device to run on a fourth carrier, T-Mobile. That's right, if you are a loyal T-Mobile customer and you desperately want the iPhone 4S, all you have to do is follow the instructions of two hackers.

Hackers Michael Capozzi and Daniel Scaleb, via Pastebin and a YouTube video, posted step-by-step instructions that specifically show you how to hack an iPhone 4S in order to make it compatible with T-Mobile's service as T-Mobile is now the only major U.S. carrier that does not support the device.

The modification requires you to insert the original AT&T SIM card, dial 611 for customer service, then drop the call. The next step has you turning on "Airplane" mode, removing the legitimate SIM card and reinserting a T-Mobile SIM card. But that's not all. As Scaleb said on Pastebin, the next step involves turning off "Airplane" mode. This will cause the iPhone to search for a network.

The EDGE network will automatically activate, after which you should turn off then phone for 20 to 30 seconds and then turn it on again. Once you turn the phone back on, tap "Use Cellular Connection" when the "Activation Required" screen pops up. After you perform all of these steps, removing the SIM card and reinserting it into your device should unlock the phone and make it compatible with T-Mobile's network.

The "hack" seems pretty simple though tech site Gizmodo, which was also one of the first sites to report about it, has said that it has received conflicting reports about whether or not the unlocking trick actually works. Regardless, if you want to give it a shot yourself and get a T-Mobile compatible iPhone 4S then go for it, though there is another option. As of last week, GSM iPhone 4S smartphones became available for $650, so there's always that.

Source: MSNBC - Hackers modify iPhone 4S to run on T-Mobile

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Adobe Promises to Keep Patches Coming for Flash Player

Adobe Flash PlayerEven though the Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers is going away, Adobe has promised to support it, though the company has not said exactly how long it will continue to patch security bugs in the software. The Adobe Executive in charge of Interactive Development Danny Winokur said in a recent blog post that Adobe would release one more version of Flash Player for Android and RIM's PlayBook before calling it quits.

The last version, which was labeled 11.1, shipped today though Winokur pledged that Adobe would keep patching some bugs in Flash Player. According to his statement, "We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations." Winokur's mention of "critical bug fixes" may not mean much, however. That is because Adobe typically rates all its Flash security updates as "critical" across the board.

In addition to Winokur's statement, another Adobe manger repeated that promise. In a Twitter post by Brad Arkin, Senior Director of Product Security and Privacy for Adobe, Arkin stated, "Adobe will continue to ship security updates for Flash Player mobile after the final feature release."

Unfortunately, neither Winokur nor Arkin relayed exactly how long Flash Player 11 security updates will be offered for smartphones and tablets. In addition to that, Adobe's Public Relations Staff declined to comment on a support timeline. Director of Security Operations at nCircle Security Andrew Storms, however, found this bit of information very peculiar.

"Why would they not tell us?" Storms asked. "That's to the detriment of everybody. If they make a date, that would get users off it sooner and force developers to get off Flash too." In addition to that, Storms speculated that Adobe may not have yet decided or that other commitments may have tied their hands.

Even though there is no word on when Adobe will drop Flash, users should look to the company's handling of Shockwave Player for inspiration. Even though Shockwave Player 11 was introduced back in March 2008, Adobe is still pushing patches to servers with the most recent one hitting last Tuesday. What is interesting, and slightly ironic, is that Adobe patched Flash Player on Thursday, releasing 11.1 for Android, as well as for Windows, OS X and Linux.

The update fixed 12 flaws, all of which were considered critical and most of them memory corruption vulnerabilities. The update yesterday was the ninth this year for Flash Player. This is nearly double the number that Adobe released in 2010. If you're running desktop browsers other than Chrome, you can download the patched version of Flash Player from Adobe's site. Android users can obtain the update from the Android Marketplace.

Source: Computer World - Adobe promises to keep patching Flash on mobile ... but doesn't say for how long

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Monday, November 7, 2011

New Nook Tablet Launched by Barnes & Noble, Set to Challenge Amazon's Kindle Fire

Barnes & Noble Nook TabletAmazon's Kindle Fire has been buzzing around the internet for a while now getting everybody up in a frenzy. For those of you who don't already know, the Kindle Fire is a 7" tablet from Amazon that has a beautiful $199 price tag. However, it appears as if Amazon has some competition now that Barnes & Noble has pulled the curtain on the all new Nook Tablet.

The new Nook Tablet heavily resembles its predecessor, the recently discounted Nook Color. Everything looks pretty much the same, even the metal bar on the bottom of the corner. Even though Barnes & Noble technically already launched into the tablet market earlier this year with an upgraded Nook Color, the Nook Tablet looks to bring more than just a new name to an old device.

The tablet comes with a 7" IPS display with full lamination, video playback in up to 1080p, and 11.5 hours of battery life, supposedly. In addition to that, the Nook Tablet also comes with 16GB of built-in memory which can be further expanded thanks to a microSD slot.

The Nook Tablet is definitely concerned with multimedia content and offers Netflix, as well as Hulu Plus, pre-loaded and also gives you access to 250 magazines and periodicals, as well as comics from big name publishers like Marvel. It is also obvious that Barnes & Noble is going straight at the Kindle Fire, but I don't think that this is going to come as any big surprise to anyone.

There are great features with both devices but you may want to consider getting the Nook Tablet over the Kindle Fire for a few reasons. First off, the Nook Tablet offers double the storage space of the Kindle Fire (which, of course, is also expandable) as well as a better display, more RAM, free in-store device support and a lighter body weight at under 1 lb.

The device, when it is released, will run Android Gingerbread and, unfortunately, does not offer open access to the Android Marketplace, just like the previous Nook Color. The tablet will cost you $50 more than the Kindle Fire with a $249 price tag but that $50 difference seems like it's worth it, especially for a better screen, double storage, more RAM and a lighter weight.

Pre-orders are now available online or in-store with the device beginning to ship next week.

Source: Engadget - Barnes & Noble launches Nook Tablet, lights a fire under Amazon

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.