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Ubuntu for Phones Preview

phone-photo-heroThe developers of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu have showed off an Android based phone OS with no JavaVM running on a Galaxy Nexus phone today. From first look it’s got some slick things that make the UI different from normal Android like swiping from edges to open menus and information, kind of stealing this from how Windows 8 works. From hands on videos it is very slow and things lag when opening. Of course this a early release but it’s nothing impressive.

On the website they show a block with app icons and just say “Go make us apps” using HTML5/Native, but lots of those like Gmail and YouTube would never make it to this OS natively just look at the large number of full on Android devices that don’t get support for Google Apps. So its very misleading to people thinking this would be cool to have because somehow it’s going to be more open then Android.

The one think I ask is what is the point, right now the big 3 are Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, with BlackBerry slowly dying away and Windows Phone not even something that anyone is looking at. This sounds like a lot of extra resources that could be put into making Android better, or making Ubuntu work better on the desktop. There is also Ubuntu TV but don’t expect much from that ether, their may be money in these markets but trying to do your own thing won’t work out or you will get people who get one of these devices and wonder why they can’t get the apps there friends on Android have.

Check out some photos to see what it looks like but don’t hold your breath for this becoming more than a waste of our time. If any new phone OS had any chance other than Android and iOS it would be Windows Phone just because they have the money to lose. And as we have seen from other Phone OS’s such as WebOS and even Windows Phone, just because you are different or have some special features it all comes down to getting things working together and getting lots of phones running it.

If this sounds harsh, it’s just true that you shouldn’t expect much to come from this.

Google Maps for iOS Available

Google Maps iOS ScreensFor all you iPhone users out there who got screwed over by Apple not getting along with Google and building a junkie maps app you can now be happy again Google has released Google Maps for iPhone today! This build includes the fast loading vector-based maps that are smooth and can be rotated just like on Android or the web. There is also turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic, public transit information, and Street View. They also added information about businesses including phone numbers, photos, and reviews.

If you are a developer you can use the Google Maps SDK for iOS and URL scheme so you can use the maps in your apps. It is available in the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch 4th gen running iOS 5.1 or higher and in more than 40 countries and in 29 languages. Check out the video below for a promotion video that shows none of the maps 😀

iPad Mini – Mini Review

Yes the title is kind of strange. But I got to play with an iPad Mini on today’s Field Trip.

I have played with iPads before and didn’t see a reason to go away from the Android systems I like, but lots of people like iOS. As for the iPad Mini its operation seemed smooth and things loaded fast and the screen was nice and crisp. As for the size, I have bigger hands than most but the feel of it was too big to the point that my hand was stretched way out to hold on to the device, making it hard to hold and at that point you may as well get the extra 2 inches. But if you wanted the smaller form this would be good if you are already in the iOS world and have only an iPhone or an old iPad but you wouldn’t want to get this if you have a newer iPad.

One other thing is the flaw of only having that Home button, I opened up the iBooks app to see how a book looked, and while it was nice there is no obvious way to get to all of your books or the table of contents. I tried holding Home but Siri wanted to help me find something, swiped from the edges but only a small bit of something came from the top but wouldn’t pull down, double tapped and even did a long tap and only got page turns. While this is only one app it does point to the fact that if there is no menus on-screen and no buttons what are you supposed to do if you have no other instructions. At least on Android you know that the menu button will get you some kind of menu, but also on Windows 8 I see this as a problem until you know that if you slide from one side a menu opens.

My experience with this app should not say if you are going to get an iPad Mini for the smaller size it should be a good experience, but it isn’t something you would go buy the iPad 4th generation and then need one of these. You would kind of just pick one based on the size you want since all of the same apps work on both devices.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Sorry About Maps

Today Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook put out a letter talking about maps. Apple removed the older app they had in iOS from the core operating system that used mapping data from Google Maps when they put out iOS6 for their iPhones and iPads. A large number of users have reported a bad experience with the new maps Apple has been building, having problems like incomplete mapping data, wrong or misleading directions, and just a bad experience using the maps application.

In the letter Cook says sorry about the maps app in the first paragraph.

We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

He also talks later about how you can also use other applications from the App Store to get maps or to use Google or Nokia web apps to get maps. He also talks about how 100 million iOS devices use the new maps and have been used to search half a billion locations. To finish, he talks about how they are working to improve the app and get it up to their high standard.

While this doesn’t fix the app or bring Google Maps to iOS in a meaningful way, it does show they how even Apple makes mistakes and like all companies has to fix them, so expect an update coming at some point to make them better. This would be a good time for Google to drop in with an iOS Google Maps app and get a lot of people to use the trusted maps they are use too.

Full text of the letter below…

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

iPhone 5 LTE

The new iPhone 5 was announced by Apple with a 4″ Retina display with a resolution of 1136 x 640, 16:9 aspect ratio, and is 7.8 mm thick weighing only 112 grams. They also include an upgraded A6 processer that is 2 times faster than the A5 processer that is also smaller and uses less battery. The phone also has LTE built in that on the same radio will work with global carriers. iOS 6 is the installed operating system, and includes updates to how iOS works, apps that are developed for the old 3.5″ screen will scale automatically.

Global LTE works with most major carriers globally, including Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T in the United States. The WIFI works with A/B/G/N running at both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with speeds up to 150Mbps. Battery with normal use of 4G and 3G talk or video playback is 8-10 hours.

They updated the connector to a new smaller 9-pin connector called “Lightning” that is 80% smaller, and there is an adapter to convert the old connector to the new one. They also are including updated headphones named “EarPods” that are made to send the sound into your ear better and fit into your ear better.

The camera was updated to 8MP 1080p with 40% faster capture, better low light, panorama mode, and easer sharing. The front camera is 720p HD, and works with FaceTime. There was also an improvement to the speakers to include noise-canceling ear peace, wideband audio, and 20% smaller. It also includes 3 microphones on the front, back and bottom.

iOS 6 includes updates to iCloud sync of Safari, new maps with navigation and satellite imagery, share photos by saying “Share” when photo is selected, and updated Siri to include movie searches, restaurant searches, and Tweeting with your voice.

You can pre-order September 14th and ships September 21st in the United States, and September 28th in other countries. This includes 100 countries and 240 carriers. Prices below

Colors Black or White 16GB $199
32GB $299 64 GB $399

Older modules will be available at reduced prices and do get updated to iOS 6.

iPhone 4 8GB FREE iPhone 4S 16GB $99

New YouTube for iPhone and iPod Touch

With Apple not including YouTube as a default app on iOS 6 for iPhone, YouTube has built a new updated app that includes music videos, channel guide, faster search tools, and better sharing functionality. The guide shows up if you swipe from the edge of the screen, and gives you access to subscriptions. The search has suggestions as you type like when you do a Google search. And you can now share with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail, or text message.

This updates the app to have more of the functionality found in the Android version and frees the YouTube app from only being updated by Apple, but it doesn’t get installed as a default app now. You can get the YouTube app in the iTunes App store today.

Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8

If Android is not your style the new Windows Phone 8 phones (wow that is repetitive) are coming out and Samsung has their new Samsung ATIV S is not a bad looking device. One thing about Windows Phone is that the makers have to have a preset of specifications that each phone should have, this is to help make better devices. The phone that Samsung released at IFA is said to look like a Galaxy S III but running Windows Phone 8. Below are some specs…

  • Windows Phone 8
  • 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processer
  • 8 MP rear / 1.9 MP front camera
  • HSPA+ / GSM
  • 16/32GB storage with 1GB RAM and microSD (SDXC) card slot
  • Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, GPS

Some people really like there Windows Phone phones, I think it’s an interesting interface but I like others are already invested in other systems like Android or iOS. Also Windows Phone has lots of apps but may not have as many of the big ones that you will find on other systems.

Tek4.ME My New Technology Blog

A few weeks ago I quit my normal crummy job that wasn’t helping me with my goal of working with computers, technology, or the internet. I had gotten my degree as an Information System Administrator but the job market for IT workers is very hard because there aren’t that many jobs where I live, but I had a few ideas on how I can still have an income.

First I have done some service calls for a company installing Internet, and those pay good for the work, I also have some friends that has been offering to get me doing the service calls they do but in my area. Because these calls aren’t consistent I plan to do some other stuff with my time when I’m not just taking care of my kids.

So my plan is to write on my Technology and Gadget blog Tek4.ME as much as I can. It will have topics such as news about upcoming Apple, Microsoft, Google, and other Companies new products and services. The blog will also have tips and tricks for best using your technology and online services. Some of the articles already up include my Hands on Review of the Nexus 7, information on why YouTube won’t be part of iOS 6, and what’s new in Windows Essentials 2012.

Finally I would also like to start building a few websites a month; this would be things like setting up and building a site using WordPress or Drupal for any type of business or organization. If interested check out more information at Grand Junction Computers web site.

Please follow us on RSS, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook for all the updates!

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YouTube Not Native in iOS 6

For those of you iOS users out there, the new version 6 is reported to not have YouTube as a built in application (and Google Maps) this is due to the end of the license agreement and the understated fact that Apple hates Google and Android so talks wouldn’t go good anyway. But it isn’t the end of the world; Google says it is working on a standalone application and that you can always use the website.

In the end all this dose is inconvenience people who just want to watch YouTube videos on their iPhone and makes Apple look dumb for not having it when it was something they had before. And I helps Google sell more Android phones by giving them more ways to say that they have something easy and what you want from a smart phone.

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