Thursday, January 12, 2017

See How Opera Neon is turning your web browser into a mini desktop.

As much as modern desktop web browsers can do, their basic concept is stuck in a rut. It's not really designed for the way many people use the web, such as chatting while you surf. Opera wants to climb out of that hole, and it's trying an unusual approach to make that happen: it's launching Opera Neon, a separate "concept" browser that shows where software could go. It's much more visual, with an uncluttered look, tabs and shortcuts as bubbles and a side control bar that largely gets out of your way. However, the real fun starts when you want to juggle multiple sites -- this is more of an intelligent desktop than your usual web client.
If you want to have two pages running side by side, it's relatively easy: you drag one of your open tabs to the top of the window, creating a split view much like what you see in Windows or the multi-window modes on mobile devices. Also, Neon acknowledges that your browser can frequently double as a media player. You can listen to tunes in the background, or pop out a video in order to switch websites while you watch. These aren't completely novel concepts all by themselves, but it's rare to see all of them in a browser at the same time.
There are two more perks that you might appreciate if you're a power user. A smart tab system surfaces frequently used tabs, while a quick "snap" feature captures screenshots of websites for a gallery. If you're the sort who regularly wants to share photos and quotes in chat, this might be your pick.
Neon is available now for both Mac and Windows users. Don't expect it to replace the standard Opera browser, though. Some of its features should cross over in the spring, but this is really a separate experiment to see which ideas stick. You'll most likely want to give this a try if you either do a lot of web-based multitasking or just feel that your existing browser choices are a bit stale.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

TCL adds Dolby Vision HDR to its 4K TVs


Today at CES, Roku unveiled 25 new Roku 4K TVs for the North American market, lowering the price bar for Dolby Vision HDR tech. As with past models, its latest C-series and P-series sets have built-in Roku streaming, giving you access to most smart TV and streaming services. TCL isn't exactly known for its great picture quality, but those lineups come with Dolby Vision HDR, giving you many times more colors, a brighter image and deeper blacks. And while such sets have generally cost $1,000 and up, the 50-inch P-series TV will launch for just $500.
Dolby Vision has been adopted by film studios like MGM and Universal, along with streaming services including Netflix, Amazon and Vudu. TVs bearing the badge are supposed to be up to 40 times brighter than standard TVs, have better blacks, expanded contrast and 12-bits of color per pixel, equating to over 68 billion colors, compared to just 16 million for a regular TV.

Both the Roku C- and P-series have 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, along with 4K "Creative Pro" upscaling, the latest Roku OS, new LED phosphors that supposedly deliver better colors, HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, 802.11ac wireless and ethernet. However, the C-series is attacking the higher end of the market with a slimmer, more contemporary design and also has "HDR Dynamic Contrast" that optimizes contrast by scene. That model ranges from 49 to 75 inches, while the largest P-series model is 65 inches. (Prices haven't been released yet for most models.)
TCL also launched the 2017 S-series, with regular HDR but no Dolby Vision, ranging from 43 to 65 inches. That lineup also packs built-in WiFi, three HDMI ports and, of course, the Roku streaming features. All told, CES 2017 represents a big new step for the Chinese company, which, despite being the third-largest TV manufacturer in the world, is little known in North America. Whether the picture quality can stand up to rivals like Samsung and LG remains to be seen, but we'll try to get a closer look on the show floor.

Samsung's leaks Chromebook Plus on Best Buy's Website

Samsung is getting ready to release a convertible, stylus-equipped Chromebook, judging by an apparently accidental Best Buy listing. It bears a striking similarity to another leaked model, the 12.5-inch, 1080p ASUS Chromebook that appeared last month on Newegg. Samsung's device is reportedly called the Chromebook Plus, but there are no specs accompanying the images. However, we can see that it's a thin, all-metal laptop, probably in the 12- to 13-inch range, equipped with USB-C and an SD card reader.
With Android tablet sales down, Google has been working hard to make its Chrome OS more touch-friendly to better compete with convertibles like Microsoft's Surface and the iPad Pro. To do that, it's added Android appcompatibility, a storage manager, and drawing capability to the Chromebook Keep app, suggesting the OS will become more productivity-oriented and stylus-friendly.
Yet another leak gave us a glimpse at a supposed Samsung Chromebook Pro, another Chrome OS model with a high-res screen. Hopefully, we'll get some solid news about the devices at Samsung's CES 2017 liveblog, which kicks off at 5PM EST. With Google de-emphasizing Android and pushing Chrome OS for future tablets and convertibles, expect to see offerings from other companies too.
Thanks, Jack!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Apple announces final Mac World in January, Steve Jobs will not deliver keynote

This will shock a lot of people but a press release from Apple just released this afternoon stating that this coming MacWorld in January will be the last, and Steve Jobs won't be on hand to say goodbye. MacWorld has been a launching point for some of Apple's most important consumer products to date. In the press release Apple states the following for the shift from MacWorld:

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Some of this is true but I find it very hard to believe that such a high profile event would be canceled after January. Will this be the return of Apple to CES as they enter the consumer's homes?

Read the entire press release here.

Intel to showcase Internet connected Prototype set-top-boxes at CES

image CES is rapidly approaching and news from Intel is that they will be bringing Internet to the TV. Intel is scheduled to show off prototype devices that bring the Internet to the TV viewing experience.

The company plans to show off consumer electronics prototypes that run "widgets" or mini-applications that could complement TV viewing with information from the Internet. These widgets that are developed will allow TV watchers to talk to friends in real-time or buy products advertised o TV from online stores.

No news yet on whether these devices will be connected to online TV sites like Hulu, You Tube and others. [read]