All Technologizer posts by Ed Oswald

Ed Oswald has been contributing to Technologizer since 2008, focusing on Apple and digital media. He currently contributes to BetaNews and PCWorld, and his work has appeared on VentureBeat, NYTimes.com, and eWeek. You can follow him on Twitter at @edoswald and on Facebook.

Here We Go Again: $99 HP TouchPads Hit eBay Sunday

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 2:13 pm on Thursday, December 8, 2011

5 Comments

Miffed you didn’t get in on the last TouchPad fire sale? Fear not, Technologizer reader: HP will sell off some refurbished 16 and 32GB models on its eBay store beginning at 6:00pm Central Time Sunday, December 11. Originally this was supposed to be an employee sale at first, with a public announcement scheduled at 6:30. Leave it to TechCrunch to mess up HP’s plans.
 
For only $79 more, HP will send you an accessory bundle that includes a case, charging dock, and wireless keyboard. It is unknown how many units will be made available, but if the past is any indication you better have your fingers at the ready to get in on this.
 
Keeping out the profiteers, eBay will require a PayPal account and will limit sales to two per eBay ID. If you’re trying to make a quick buck on the popularity of these things, remember that first off they’re not new, and you better create quite a few user IDs in order to make it worthwhile. There’s also one more caveat: instead of the standard one year warranty, you will only have a 90-day guarantee on these bad boys.
 
I have a few friends that participated in the initial frenzy. As for me? No thanks — my iPad 2 is doing fine — and with HP still undecided on the fate of WebOS I’m not going to spend my money on a potential brick. Did that once already, and that’s why my HD DVD player is sitting in my entertainment center gathering dust.



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Is Carrier IQ As Bad As It Seems?

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 5:03 pm on Thursday, December 1, 2011

2 Comments

The controversy over the nature of Carrier IQ’s phone-monitoring application is deepning, with Minnesota Senator Al Franken demanding answers over what the company is doing with the information it collects. Carrier IQ’s code is apparently on millions of devices, and is known to be currently used by at least one manufacturer, HTC, and two carriers, AT&T and Sprint.
 
Apple chimed in, and says it used Carrier IQ in “most” of its pre-iOS 5 products. It says the code will be removed completely in a future software update, and the submission of diagnostic data is opt-in.
Franken asks Carrier IQ to provide details on what exactly the software records, where the data is transmitted to, and whether or not protections are in place to protect the security of those affected. He is also calling upon the company to give consumers a method of opting out of the process.

Continue reading this story…



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Google Music’s Twist: Sharing After You Buy

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 3:17 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2011

22 Comments

Google music chief Andy Rubin sat on stage Wednesday at All Things Digital’s AsiaD conference and promised us that its Google Music store would be more than just another iTunes. On Thursday we found out why. Business Insider reports that the “twist” Rubin is speaking of involves the ability to share music “on a limited basis” after you purchase the tracks.

Once shared, the tracks can be played a specific number of times by the recipient at no cost, say Business Insider’s sources. It’s not clear exactly how the process will work, although it probably would involve some kind of link to the purchaser’s music “locker,” a feature that launched with the beta of Google Music in May. The move certainly signals that the music industry may be ready to soften its stance.

Previously, the record labels had been pretty steadfast in their opposition to share music that they had purchased legally. But the launch of Spotify here in the US shows that the industry may have realized that the tight controls it has placed on digital content may actually be doing the opposite of what its intended to do: stop piracy.

Just think about it — if your friend tells you about a hot new track, is the 60 or so seconds that iTunes or any other service gives you as a preview enough to tell if you really like it? Why not give the opportunity to listen to the whole thing, in a controlled environment. Who knows, you just might buy it!



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Samsung’s Boneheaded PR Mistake

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 2:32 pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10 Comments

File this one under “So Stupid You Can’t Believe It’s True.” With all the legal hubbub between Apple and Samsung at the moment, you would think both companies would be walking on eggshells. But one of them apparently isn’t paying attention. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber was tipped on Monday that promotional materials for the upcoming Galaxy Player include a very interesting screenshot.

Nestled within the list of features is a section on the Galaxy Player’s Google capabilities. The screenshot is not of the Android OS Google app, though: instead, it is a shot of the Maps app in iOS. Yes, really.

Some enterprising investigative reporting has tracked down the image to female-centric technology blog BlogHer, in a 2008 post about “game changing” iOS apps. How the PR department didn’t notice this when lifting the image is beyond me. Doesn’t Google Image Search tell you where it comes from?

The errant screenshot sat on Samsung’s own website for an unknown amount of time here, but has since been removed. See the image after the jump, you have to see this to believe it!

Continue reading this story…



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iPhone 4S Pre-Order Fail

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 12:49 am on Friday, October 7, 2011

26 Comments

I don’t think Steve would be too happy with the way the pre-order for the iPhone 4S has gone so far. It took Apple until 3:41am to get the Apple Store up, and once up it was difficult to complete a transaction: for example, existing AT&T customers were experiencing issues in reserving a device. Sprint’s site crashed within minutes of the 3:01am opening, and on AT&T it said you could preorder the device, yet it’s nowhere to be found. Verizon’s the only carrier getting high marks so far for the process on Twitter and elsewhere.

Yes, I guess we should have expected this, but it seems like these pre-order events are getting worse rather than better. Wouldn’t you think these companies would figure out how to do it right after awhile? I guess not.

UPDATE (1:15AM PT): Apple’s site is still having issues, but AT&T seems to be working sluggish but half-decent. Sprint’s site is definitely slow, and Verizon’s still doing the best. Just anecdotal, but Sprint is definitely the slowest out of the group. Not surprising, considering these folks are completely new to the iPhone, and we’re likely seeing the pent up demand there.



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An Incredible Loss

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 7:01 am on Thursday, October 6, 2011

4 Comments

What can be said that hasn’t been said already? Wednesday brought the news that we had all expected for some time now, but not this soon. Steve Jobs, arguably one of tech’s greatest visionaries, gone at the age of 56. As a journalist, you’re taught to separate yourself from the story, and I did in the initial minutes and hours after the news broke.

But now I’ve had some time to sit and reflect on the day’s events, and it floors me. I don’t think we yet grasp the true gravity of what has happened, and we very well may not for months if not years to come. In the simplest terms this is an incredible loss.

Continue reading this story…



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Siri Brings Apple’s Vision Full Circle

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 10:11 pm on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

12 Comments

In 1987, then CEO of Apple John Sculley described a device known as the “Knowledge Navigator” in his book Odyssey. Described in its simplest terms, it was a personal assistant that allowed the user to navigate information in an interactive way. The user would be able to speak in natural language, and the artificial intelligence would reason out the intention of the user. Watch it in action in this vintage Apple-produced video.

As you can see, the interaction is very human-like. The command-based method of interaction –which is so common in the voice recognition platforms of today — is nowhere to be found. This method is just not the way the average person thinks. While us techies may think in this manner, everyday consumerS would be more comfortable talking to the device because they don’t have to remember a set of commands.

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Here it is, The iPhone 4S

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 11:03 am on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

9 Comments

Well whaddya know, all those rumors about the “iPhone 4S” were true. This phone looks completely the same from the outside — but don’t be fooled. “Inside it is all new,” Phil Schiller says. An A5 chip powers the device, long rumored to make its way into the iPhone lineup. This would mean the iPhone gets a dual-core process: something many top-tier Android devices have had for several months.

No more dual model iPhones. The phone has integrated GSM and CDMA, meaning it would operate on any of Apple’s partners. This obviously must save the company some money as it doesn’t need to produce two sets of phones, or for that matter worry about the development of two phones.

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The iPod is Getting Some Love (and Updates)

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 10:57 am on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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Well, the iPod wasn’t necessarily supposed to be part of the festivities — at least I thought — but Apple took the time to push out some updates to its products. The Nano is going to get a refresh with user interface enhancements, including a watch face for those of you who might want to wear it as a watch.  The enhancements are minor, and you’ll still get it in the same seven colors beginning today. The 8GB is on sale for $129, and 16GB for $149.

The iPod touch will gain a white version and remains basically the same device, just with iOS 5 enhancements. Prices have changed though, the 8GB is now $199, with the 32GB at $299 and the 64GB at $399.



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Did Apple just take on Foursquare? It’s new Family and Friends app seems like it is. While it’s not “checking in,” it will allow iOS users to share their location at preset times. Could see this becoming a big hit for families on vacations…

Posted by Ed at 10:48 am

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Presenting iCloud


After finally giving us a solid release date for iOS 5, iCloud was the next topic. As is already happening, iTunes moves to the cloud and will be automatically synced to all devices. Photo Stream would do the same, keeping your photos in sync. Backups would also be taken to the cloud, as well as the Find my iPhone app. Essentially, it’s become a free version of MobileMe, pretty much as promised.

Posted by Ed Oswald at 10:44 am

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iOS 5 Up First

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 10:39 am on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1 Comment

As expected, Apple devoted a significant section of Tuesday’s event to iOS 5 given by iOS chief Scott Forstall. Since we’ve already gone over the major points of iOS 5 back during WWDC, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the most exciting new features.

iOS 5 introduces iMessage, essentially Apple’s response to BlackBerry Messenger. Conversations can be started on one device and then finished on another: that is because the app is push-based. Obviously this has the carriers a little concerned because after all those text messaging plans are just another way to get another $10, $15, or more out of you every month. Most of your friends on iPhones? Well, obviously you’re not going to need so many text messages.

It also debuts notifications in a more Android like format, where you swipe from the top to see them. This is a great feature for those like me who get several in a row before looking at their phone, and then have to cycle through all those popups which gets seriously annoying.

Twitter integration’s another notable feature, which would be found across the camera, Safari, and maps apps. Developers would be able to also integrate Twitter into their own apps. I have to say that’s great and all, but what about Facebook?

Game Center gets some important enhancements which Apple likely hopes will push it to the forefront. Achievement points, friend recommendations and photos are just some of the additions, which makes it much more like Xbox Live (which it should be anyway).

But you really care when its available, and that’s October 12th. And oh yeah, it’s a free update.



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If you’re looking for our liveblog, Harry’s in Japan. But thanks to the fine folks at Macworld, we’re simulcasting their liveblog here: http://www.technologizer.com/iphone5. Join us!

(UPDATE: CoverItLive, which Macworld uses, seems to be having troubles–we recommend the live coverage at gdgt, which is working great.]

Posted by Ed at 10:11 am

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Here’s one nugget for you all to feast on ahead of the announcement. Yesterdays report on Boy Genius Report that the iPhone 5 would be an Sprint exclusive with WiMAX is being panned by the Wall Street Journal: Greg Bensinger reports that the device will neither run on LTE nor WiMAX. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.

Posted by Ed at 9:56 am

1 Comment

Did Sprint Sell Its Soul for the iPhone?

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 3:40 pm on Monday, October 3, 2011

8 Comments

Sprint needs something, anything, to keep it relevant. It is staring two huge rivals — Verizon and AT&T — in the face, and will become the odd man out if the AT&T merger goes through. So what is it to do?

If you believe what the Wall Street Journal is saying Sprint has done, you all but sell your company’s soul for the iconic iPhone.

Sprint is likely to lose money on the iPhone deal through at least 2014, the paper reports, but it seems to think that the device could be key in keeping the carrier relevant. The gamble carries a lot of risk: Sprint could find itself straddled by a costly deal that could bring the entire company down if it fails.

Continue reading this story…



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Twitter To Sell Political Advertising

By Ed Oswald  |  Posted at 12:04 pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

11 Comments

With the 2012 campaign expected to cost candidates well over a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that companies that count on advertising are angling to get a slice of that huge pie. Twitter is one of them, and plans to market its advertising services to the campaigns thanks to a key hire of a former political marketing executive from Google.

Twitter told Politico that it plans to sell ads through features such as promoted tweets and trends. At least five campaigns have already signed on to the new offering, including Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign. Twitter declined to specify the other participants.

One thing it will not do is insert ads within user’s timeline, a new advertising option that it has been experimenting with over the past few months. It also plans to differentiate a political ad from a standard one: the ad will carry a small purple checkmark.

You won’t see the standard “I approve this message” tag on tweets. Twitter won’t display them directly with the tweet, however hovering over the tweet would show who purchased the advertising if the campaign decides to disclose it. (It should be obvious anyway, since the ads would direct to a URL or Twitter account where the identity would be disclosed, I’d guess).

I wonder if like TV and radio, Twitter will become a sea of political ads in the days before an election, with the candidates sniping at each other continuously. Let’s hope not.



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