Nokia is jumping even further onto the NFC bandwagon with plans to support the mobile payments technology in its latest Symbian phones and all future phones.
The Finish phone maker's current C7 handset and its new 700, 701, and 600 phones already include the NFC hardware and will fully support it by the first half of 2012, according to NFC World and other sources.
The company also plans to outfit all upcoming Symbian phones with the NFC chips as part of its aggressive move into the mobile payments market.
"From now on, all of our products will have … Read more
Sony is returning to its innovative roots with the introduction of a head-mounted display that simulates a 62.5-foot screen.
The Personal 3D Viewer, or HMZ-T1, is billed by Sony as the "world's first 3D compatible head-mounted display equipped with an HD OLED panel." Capable of screening 2D and 3D content, this headset is reminiscent of Glasstron, a similarly designed Sony headpiece (with LCD screens inside) from 1997.
Miles ahead of the predecessor, the HMZ-T1 could be that wow factor Sony has been trying to hit the market with for years.
The company had trotted out a prototype back in January at CES 2011 but officially announced the product in Tokyo today ahead of IFA. It's set for a November 11 release in Japan with a price tag of 59,800 yen, or $781.
Within the headset are two 0.7-inch OLED displays (720p/2.8 million pixels) that have all the features of an expensive high-resolution panel in a small form factor. Within, the optical lens projects a 45-degree horizontal viewing angle to the user with a "virtual viewing distance up to 65 feet." … Read more
It's hard for some people to imagine, but Sony was the first major brand to offer an e-book reader back in 2006--beating the original Amazon Kindle to market by at least 14 months. Since then, however, the company's e-book strategy has been one step forward and two steps back as it plays catch-up with upstart competitors Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Consider the 2010 Sony Readers: the models pioneered e-ink touch screens months before the Nook and Kobo, but they inexplicably omitted Wi-Fi from most models--instead requiring readers to tether to a PC and download new e-books. Those Sonys were also priced far above competing Kindle and Nook models at the time.
A year later, Sony is updating its Reader line, and this time the company seems to be more in tune with current e-reader features and pricing.
The new Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 hits stores this October for $149. The responsive touch screen is intact, and the inclusion of Wi-Fi and that lower price tag finally gets Sony into the same pricing and features realm as the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo Touch. Oh, and it's nice to see Sony simplifying its e-reader product line with one 6-inch model that comes in three colors--black, red, and white.
We got a chance to take an early look at the Reader Wi-Fi several weeks ago behind closed doors. The unit we saw was a nonworking prototype, but since the new Reader is essentially a redesigned version of last year's PRS-650, the most important takeaways from the preview were the new form factor and lighter weight (partially due to an all-plastic, rather than metal, casing). … Read more
Windows 8 will let you open and view ISO and VHD files all on its own, according to the latest "Building Windows 8" blog from Microsoft.
Posted yesterday by Microsoft engineer Rajeev Nagar, the new blog post, titled "Accessing data in ISO and VHD files," revealed that native support for ISO and VHD files was one feature often requested by users, prompting the company to add it to its upcoming OS.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) files are image files that hold the contents of a CD or DVD. Large programs available for download through the … Read more
The shine appears to be fading on the daily-deals marketing model.
On the heels of Facebook's announcement last week that it would abandon its Facebook Deals, which offered discounted coupons for local businesses, Yelp announced today it is trimming the number of employees working on its Deals product. Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's chief executive officer and co-founder, wrote in a blog post that while daily deals have been a hit for certain types of businesses, the model is struggling to deal with issues raised by both consumers and participating businesses:
The space faces some real challenges... while consumers love … Read more
When a team of cardiologists wanted to better understand an extremely rare heart condition called spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), they reached out to possible participants on patient-run social-media sites dedicated to women's heart health.
It was something of a shot in the dark, but Mayo Clinic cardiologist Sharonne Hayes says that in doing so, her team stumbled on a novel way to recruit participants who are notoriously hard to track down.
"This is a completely different research model than Mayo Clinic is used to," said Hayes, whose findings appear in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "Investigators here typically rely on the stores of patient information from the clinic. This was truly patient-initiated research."… Read more
Mobile-browser maker Layar is about to make augmented reality all that you thought it could be. The company has added visual search to its augmented-reality browser. Point your phone's camera at an object in the real world and an appropriate digital activity will occur on your handset.
For instance, point your phone at a historic house and a video clip will play; point your phone at your friend's new shoes and a buy button will pop up; or point your phone at an article in a paper magazine and a social-media button will pop up asking if you want to share the digital version with friends.
Layar's augmented-reality browser for iPhone and Android runs apps written for it. Layar also offers a player that software makers can embed in iPhone and Android apps. Both will gain visual search. The browser app upgrade will be in app stores at the end of the third quarter. The player upgrade will be available in the fourth quarter.… Read more
Electronic Arts is having unprecedented success on Facebook, thanks to the Sims.
According to The Sims Social Facebook page, the game now has more than 22 million monthly active users. In a tweet today, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that by reaching that milestone, the game is now "EA's most successful Facebook game."
Reaching the top wasn't all that difficult. EA has a host of Facebook games, but none can match the popularity of The Sims Social. Madden NFL Superstars, for example, has less than 600,000 monthly active users. Monopoly Millionaires has a little less than 3 million monthly active users, while Restaurant City 4.7 million monthly active users.
The Sims Social, which launched on Facebook earlier this year, allows users to create their own Sims and basically live their lives for them. In a press release announcing the game in June, EA said the title lets users "engage with every aspect of their Sims social lives from the intense emotion of a first kiss to the flawless execution of a hilarious prank."
Although The Sims Social is becoming quite popular, it has a long way to go to catch up to Facebook favorites FarmVille and CityVille. FarmVille currently has more than 34 million monthly active users, while CityVille has nearly 76 million monthly active users.… Read more