ESPN 3D launched in 2010 with coverage of 25 FIFA World Cup matches, but word that the channel will be mothballed has the international football association reviewing whether it will use the tech in 2014. An Associated Press report quotes FIFA director of television Niclas Ericson saying that there is interest from several broadcasters in a 3D presentation, but the cost is currently under review. While FIFA focuses on its standard HD broadcasts, it's also thinking over offering 4K Ultra HD coverage, which is currently being tested during Confederations Cup matches. The Hollywood Reporter points out that while Sony has backed off some of the sponsorships that pushed early 3D productions, it's providing some of the equipment for UHDTV tests like its F55 4K camera. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is already in line for a 4K soccer broadcast in 2014, we'll see if it's put to use alongside new goal-line technology.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Starting at 8 a.m. today, the Calvin Klein spring 2014 show will stream live right here. Enjoy!Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.
Despite its "Defend Your Net" campaign last year, Google was unable to fully put the brakes on changes to German copyright law that may mean it has to pay up for news excerpts it indexes. As a result, the company announced that unlike the other 60 countries where Google News operates by relying on sources to opt out of inclusion by request, robots.txt file or meta tags, it's requiring German publishers to opt-in. According to Google, it's pushing six billion visits per month to publishers worldwide as a free service, not something it should have to pay for. As TechCrunch points out, the issue comes as a result of the new German law that allows search engines to continue to publish snippets of news without paying, but isn't clear about just how much information that can include.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week, Ting went rogue and all but confirmed the HTC Tiara, Boost Mobile did the obvious and announced a phone that's long been rumored in its pipeline and Wind welcomed a new, compact Samsung handset into the fold. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of June 17th, 2013.Ting teases HTC Tiara, revamps its payment scheme
It was just a month ago that Ting first announced that it'd bring Windows Phone handsets to its lineup -- subject to their arrival at Sprint -- but now the MVNO has revealed one of the two smartphones as the HTC Tiara. Most importantly, the reveal adds credibility to rumors of the Tiara, which have existed entirely in the form of leaked specifications. According to @evleaks' initial reveal, the HTC Tiara is said to include a 4.3-inch WVGA display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon, an 8-megapixel / 1.2-megapixel camera setup and 8GB of internal storage.
Separately, Ting also took the opportunity this week to announce a new approach to its pricing model. While rates remain unchanged, subscribers will no longer need to pay in advance for their estimated usage. Instead, Ting will now charge users at the end of the month, based on their use of voice minutes, messages and data. The new approach effectively eliminates the need for Ting to credit users at the end of every month for unused minutes, messages and data, which was initially one of its key selling points. [Ting 1, 2]LG Optimus F7 announced for Boost Mobile
Chalk up one more in the "correct" column for @evleaks, as the LG Optimus F7 for Boost Mobile is now official. According to the carrier's press release, the smartphone will become available on June 27th for $300. As a quick refresher, the Optimus F7 includes a 4.7-inch IPS display at 720p, a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, an 8-megapixel / 1.3-megapixel camera setup, 8GB of expandable storage and Android 4.1. Currently, the Optimus F7 is also sold by US Cellular, where customers can find it for $100 on contract. [Boost Mobile]Samsung Galaxy Ace II E comes to Wind Mobile
Following in the footsteps of Eastlink and Videotron, Wind Mobile is now selling the Samsung Galaxy Ace II E. As a slight pain, the phone is sold exclusively through Wind's retail stores and over the phone, and can't be purchased online. Customers can snag the Galaxy Ace II E for $259 outright, or free with a $40 WINDtab plan. The compact handset includes a 3.8-inch WVGA display, a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of expandable storage and Android 4.1.2. You can find the phone in any color you want... so long as it's black. [MobileSyrup]Other random tidbitsAccording to T-Mobile, WiFi Calling is in the works for BlackBerry 10, which will be to current users via a software update. [CrackBerry]Sony has released an experimental API that allows developers to control the Illumination bar, which is included on a number of Xperia smartphones. [Sony]The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is now available in Red Aurora through AT&T, where it sells for $200 on contract. [Android Central]C Spire has published a new app known as WiFi On, which allows users to discover more than 12 million public hotspots across the globe. [BusinessWire]The Huawei Ascend P6 is now available for £329.95 on pre-order at Carphone Warehouse, which expects to ship the smartphone by July 4th. [Android Central]Canonical has formed the Carrier Advisement Group, which will provide carriers with early access to information from Ubuntu smartphone manufacturers, along with the ability to be a launch partner of said devices. [Canonical]Must-read mobile storiesHands-on with the NEC Terrain: the company's first US phone in eight yearsSamsung Galaxy S4 Active from AT&T hands-on (video)Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on (video)Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini hands-on (video)Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom hands-on: 10x telephoto, 100x intrigue (video)Samsung user manual confirms Galaxy S 4 variant with Snapdragon 800 chipLG's Optimus G followup to feature a Snapdragon 800 CPUHTC Butterfly s revealed: 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, UltraPixel camera sensor (video)Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MDP benchmarks: prepare for ludicrous speedHuawei Ascend P6 hands-on (video)
[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Okay, it might not be the fastest phone-cubing you've ever seen (or the funkiest,) but it's likely some of the shrewdest. Using an Ascend P6 at its heart, "MultiCuber 3" is the latest contraption from serial cube-coder (and ARM Engineer) David Gilday which combines Lego Mindstorms, algorithms and "because it's there" style optimism in equal measures. A custom app snaps the unsolved cube from all sides, to understand the starting point, then figures out the quickest path to color-coded harmony. Gilday claims that most human cubers would take about 120 moves to solve the 4 x 4 puzzle, making MultiCuber 3's 50 somewhat impressive. Watch the whole thing unfold in the video past the break, complete with appropriately euphoric soundtrack.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Google officially acquired the crowd-sourced mapping and traffic app Waze earlier this month, but the $1.1 billion deal is hitting a last-minute jam. The search giant has confirmed with Reuters that the Federal Trade Commission recently opened an antitrust investigation into the purchase, even though Waze will mostly operate independently. According to the New York Post, Google didn't file a review with the FTC because Waze makes less than $70 million annually, which is below the bar for an "automatic review." Reuters notes that the FTC can put a magnifying glass to any closed deals at its discretion, namely to ensure there was no prior intent simply to stifle competition. These latest happenings might make for a temporary roadblock between the integration of certain data from Waze and Google, notes the Post -- assuming the deal indeed gets an okay from The Man. Either way, we'd imagine concessions will be made if needed, as Google's no stranger to these types of proceedings.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Back when Windows 8 first launched, the Acer Iconia W700 quickly became one of our favorite laptop / tablet hybrids. There were two reasons for that, really: the price was right, and the battery lasted longer than pretty much any other Win 8 device we'd tested. The thing is, it was more of a business device than something we'd recommend to the average consumer. After all, it came with a heavy, desk-bound docking station, with the carrying case and included keyboard as standalone pieces. That's quite a lot to carry if you ever feel like taking it on the road.
That's where the Acer Aspire P3 comes in. Don't worry, the W700 is still alive and kicking, but for people who've been looking for something more portable, this could be the one you want. Like the W700, the P3 starts at a reasonable price ($800) and has the guts of an Ivy Bridge laptop, including a Core i5 processor, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. The difference is that rather than a clunky cradle, it comes with a carrying case that doubles as a keyboard; just prop the tablet up into a ready-made slot when you feel like watching movies or answering email. Yep, kind of like the Surface Pro, except there's no built-in kickstand and the keyboard is actually included. So is it a good deal at that price? Let's find out.Acer Aspire P3 review See all photos 37 Photoswhen.eng("eng.galleries.init") Hardware
Take away the keyboard and the P3 looks a lot like the W700, which is to say it's fashioned out of aluminum with a boxy shape and blunt edges. At 0.4 inch thick, it's actually slimmer than we would've expected a Core i5 tablet to be, but it still makes room for a full-sized USB 3.0 connection over on the left. What's more, at 1.74 pounds, it's lighter than most of the other 11.6-inch Core i5 tablets in its class, including the Surface Pro, which weighs two pounds, and the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, which weighs 1.8 pounds (3.8 if you factor in the accompanying keyboard). Granted, we'd still prefer to use a nearly two-pound tablet in its stand, or on our laps, but there's no doubt it's a bit more pleasant to hold aloft than some of its competitors.
Elsewhere, you'll see everything else you'd expect to find on a tablet, including a volume rocker, micro-HDMI socket, headphone jack and power / lock button. There's also a micro-USB-to-USB cable for charging the included Bluetooth keyboard. Lastly, it ships with a micro-HDMI-to-VGA adapter, though most of you won't need it.
Normally we'd wait until later in the review to talk about the keyboard, but in this instance, the included keyboard case is a crucial part of the P3's identity. What's nice is that the case fits neatly into the groove where you're supposed to prop it up, and once it's in, it stays put. The whole setup feels more stable than some similar-looking setups, like the one on the ASUS VivoTab Smart. The downside to this form factor, of course, is that the screen angle isn't at all adjustable. Luckily, the IPS panel makes for easy viewing, both head-on and from slightly off to the side.
The thing is, once you get the tablet inside the case, it can be awfully hard to pull back out. Even when you do manage to wrest it out, you'll probably hit the power button or volume rocker by mistake. Also, the process of tearing away the plastic cover reveals just how cheaply made it is: it flexes in a way the tablet itself doesn't. It's not prone to breakage by any means, but it's also not the sort of thing you want showcasing your new $900 plaything.
Considering the whole thing is about the size of an 11-inch Ultrabook, the keys are remarkably well-spaced. Heck, even the arrow keys are generously sized. All told, they're easy to type on, though there seems to be even less travel here than on other keyboard docks we've tested. In fact, we sometimes went out of our way to hit the keys hard, just to make sure our presses registered. The real problem, though, is that there's no touchpad -- not even an optical pointing stick -- so you'll need to supply your own mouse if you plan on spending a lot of time in desktop apps. For what it's worth, at least, desktop items are easier to hit with your finger than on a 1080p tablet. Hey, that 1,366 x 768 resolution had to come in handy for something, right?Display and sound
This is as good a place as any to segue to the display section. As it happens, you already know what we like about the screen -- namely, that the viewing angles are good enough to compensate for the fixed screen angle. But what about the resolution? To be fair, as far as pixel density is concerned, 1,366 x 768 isn't so bad on an 11-inch display. Ultimately, we're probably more forgiving than we'd be if this were a 13-inch device. (Uh oh, HP. You listening?) In fact, you might not necessarily miss how tiny the objects are at native 1080p resolution. But some of you will, and as it happens, the Surface Pro offers a 1,920 x 1,080 screen for a similar price (with some caveats, which we'll discuss more later). And for all the Surface Pro's shortcomings, it does, objectively, have a nicer display than the P3, mostly because it uses optical bonding to reduce glare.
Though the P3's case has a slot that could, in theory, be used to hold a pen, the tablet doesn't actually have an active digitizer, so you can keep your spare Wacom pens stowed in a drawer. You won't need them here.
The tablet's dual speakers are located on the bottom edge of the tablet, which means they're firing down into the case when docked, but toward you when you're actually holding it. As on so many Ultrabooks, the sound quality is tinny, but it actually seems a bit worse here than on other units we've tested recently. Yeezus sounds dreadful at top volume, for instance, what with all the distortion; if you do buy the P3, you're better off sticking to a medium level or opting for headphones. Fortunately, the sound is loud enough that you can get by listening on a lower volume setting, at least if you're in a quiet space without much background noise.Performance and battery lifePCMark73DMark063DMark11ATTO (top disk speeds)Acer Aspire P3 (1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y, Intel HD 4000)3,8673,999
E925 / P503552 MB/s (reads); 524 MB/s (writes)Sony VAIO Duo 11 (1.7GHz Core i7-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,5454,807
E1,107 / P621 / X201540 MB/s (reads); 525 MB/s (writes)Sony VAIO Pro 11 (1.8GHz Core i7-4500U, Intel HD 4400)4,634N/A
E1,067 / P600 / X183558 MB/s (reads); 255 MB/s (writes)Samsung ATIV Book 7 (1.8GHz Core i5-3337U, Intel HD 4000)4,4184,045
E1,081 / P600626 MB/s (reads); 137 MB/s (writes)ASUS Transformer Book (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD 4000)4,4143,840
E924 / P512 / X177482 MB/s (reads); 317 MB/s (writes)Toshiba Kirabook (2.0GHz Core i7-3537U, Intel HD 4000)5,2755,272
N/A553 MB/s (reads); 500 MB/s (writes)MSI Slidebook S20 (1.8GHz Core i5-3337U, Intel HD 4000)4,0433,944
E1,053 / P578484 MB/s (reads); 286 MB/s (writes)ASUS TAICHI 21 (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD 4000)4,9984,818E1,137 / P610 / X201516 MB/s (reads); 431 MB/s (writes)Microsoft Surface Pro (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,6733,811E1,019 / P552526 MB/s (reads); 201 MB/s (writes)Dell XPS 12 (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,6734,520N/A516 MB/s (reads); 263 MB/s (writes)
The configuration we tested, which retails for $900, comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. If you recall, this processor is one of Intel's lower-power Y series Ivy Bridge chips, so our benchmark scores were naturally a bit below other devices with third-generation Core processors. Fortunately, while CPU-intensive tests show a dip in performance, the Intel-made SSD actually outperforms other machines on the market. In the disk benchmark ATTO, it did something most drives don't do: it delivered nearly even results for both read and write speeds (552 and 524 MB/s, to be exact). Most other WinTel tablets / Ultrabooks don't get that fast on read tests, and they definitely don't come close on the writing side. Also, the whole thing cold-boots in seven seconds, which bodes well for fast everyday performance, even if it won't ever make the leaderboard for PCMark.
There are other signs, too, that the P3 is a capable performer. For instance, it logged an impressive score of 206.3ms in the web-rendering test SunSpider (version 0.9.1). Indeed, web browsing is a smooth affair, with fluid scrolling and zero tiling when you zoom in and out. In general, that low-power CPU does a good job of keeping the machine quiet and (relatively) cool. Even after streaming Spotify and loading up a bunch of web pages, the vents on the top edge of the device felt merely lukewarm. And even if they do get a little toasty, you're unlikely to graze the vents with your fingers anyway -- at least if you're using this thing in landscape mode.
Battery lifeAcer Aspire P34:33Sony VAIO Duo 139:40Acer Iconia W7007:13Sony VAIO Pro 116:41Dell XPS 146:18Sony VAIO T135:39Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 135:32Dell XPS 125:30ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch5:15Toshiba Kirabook5:12Toshiba Satellite U8455:12Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M35:11Toshiba Satellite U925t5:10Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon5:07Samsung ATIV Book 75:02ASUS Transformer Book5:01 (tablet only)Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch5:00Sony VAIO Duo 114:47Acer Aspire S54:35MSI Slidebook S204:34ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A4:19Acer Aspire S7 (13-inch)4:18Acer Aspire S34:11Lenovo ThinkPad Twist4:09HP Spectre XT TouchSmart4:00ASUS TAICHI 213:54Microsoft Surface Pro3:46
Acer says the P3's four-cell, 5,280mAh battery can last up to six hours on a charge, but a company rep admitted that when it comes to video playback, specifically, you're looking at somewhere between roughly four and a half hours and five hours and 20 minutes. Indeed, with a video looping off the local drive, WiFi on and the brightness fixed to 65 percent, we managed four hours and 33 minutes. With the brightness set to a more conservative level, we bet you could top five hours, just as promised.
In any event, four and a half hours isn't good, especially in light of the runtime we've been getting from early Haswell systems like the new MacBook Air and Sony VAIO Pro 11. In all fairness, the P3 does get almost an hour more runtime than the Surface Pro, which also runs on an Ivy Bridge processor. That's faint praise, though: it's not like there's much of a reason for you to buy a device with last year's chips. Not unless the price is too low to pass up, anyway.Software and warranty
So how bad is the bloatware load here? Well, it's not as bad as the Samsung ATIV Book 7 we reviewed last month, but the collection of pre-installed apps is still pretty extensive. Taking up two pages on the Start Screen are shortcuts for: 7digital, Zinio's magazine shop, Kindle, Evernote, Skitch, newsXpresso, TuneIn, WeatherBug, Fresh Paint, Music Maker Jam, Zeptolab and the Xbox Live game Shark Dash. Acer also threw in some apps of its own, including Social Jogger, Crystal Eye (a webcam app) and Acer Explorer (for getting to know all those pre-installed apps you didn't ask for). For malware protection, you get a trial of McAfee Internet Security, which brings all the same annoying pop-ups as we've noticed on other test machines. Finally, just like any other Acer device, the P3 works with Acer Cloud, allowing you to store files in the cloud and access them on your mobile device.
The P3 comes with a one-year warranty, including 24/7 phone support.Configuration options and the competition
In addition to the $900 Core i5 model we tested, there's an $800 configuration with a 1.4GHz Core i3-3229Y CPU. Otherwise, the other specs are the same: a 120GB SSD and 5-megapixel main camera. As for a possible Haswell refresh a little later down the line, Acer won't say one way or another if new processors are on the way. So, it's up to you if you'd rather take the machine as is (and with a fairly low price) or hold out for an improved version that doubles down on battery life.
The same goes for many of the P3's competitors. We've mentioned the Surface Pro several times already, for instance, and that, too, comes with an Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor. We'd actually be shocked if Microsoft didn't soon announce a new Surface, one with a refined design and fresh processors. That said, if you can't wait, the current Surface Pro starts at $899, the same price as the Core i5 P3. For the money, though, it starts with just 64GB of storage and no keyboard (those will cost $120 to $130 extra). The battery life is also shorter but, as we said, you do at least get a sharper display with less glare and Wacom pen support thrown in for good measure.
The performance takes a hit and battery life is only a little bit better than on competing tablets.
Speaking of nice screens, the Toshiba Portege Z10t is an 11-inch tablet with a 1080p touchscreen with Wacom pen support and -- get this -- a matte finish. As we said in our hands-on, that anti-glare coating serves a few purposes: it reduces glare, obviously, but also masks fingerprints and makes the doodling experience feel more like writing on real paper. This also ships with Ivy Bridge processors, though a Haswell refresh is coming (the problem right now is that these are enterprise-friendly vPro chips, and Intel hasn't actually released its Haswell vPro CPUs yet). You'll also find the keyboard dock offers way more ports than you'll find on the P3, though the design is admittedly clunky (and sort of ugly too). We'd also caution you of the price: $1,499 is a lot for a tablet with last-gen processors, even if it does have a 1080p display, 128GB SSD and active digitizer.
As for Lenovo, the ThinkPad Helix ($1,679-plus) falls in a similar vein, with an 11-inch, 1080p display and an active digitizer. Like so many of the other models mentioned here, it currently ships with Ivy Bridge processors (your choice of Core i5 and i7). Mobile broadband is an option too. We expect to have a review up soon, but for now, suffice to say the battery life is quite a bit better than on the P3 or the Surface Pro.
So far, we've been mentioning hybrids that are better than the P3, but also more expensive. We can think of at least one, though, that comes close to matching Acer on both price and specs. That would be the HP Split x2, which goes on sale in August for $800 with a 13-inch, 1,366 x 768 display and your choice of Intel Y series CPUs (Core i3 or i5). On the whole, then, it's largely like the P3, with two key differences: screen size (natch) and the keyboard dock. In the case of the Split, the keyboard houses lots of additional ports, and also contains a 500GB hard drive to complement the SSD inside the tablet proper. Between that and the price, we suspect some people will give the Split a second look, those last-gen processors be damned.Wrap-upMore InfoAcer unveils Aspire P3 convertible UltrabookMicrosoft Surface Pro reviewHP intros the Split x2 Windows hybrid
At $800 with a keyboard included, there are lots of things we can forgive about the P3: its 1,366 x 768 resolution, the lack of an active digitizer for pen input. But we can't shake the feeling that Haswell would have made this a much better tablet. In designing this tablet, Acer resorted to a lower-power Ivy Bridge chip, presumably to maximize the battery life. But the performance takes a hit, and meanwhile battery life is only a little bit better than on competing tablets. Based on some early reviews of machines with Haswell chips, we're quite certain the battery life would be hours longer on the P3, and that the performance would improve too, especially on the graphics side. If you can hold out for a possible refresh, the P3 will be a more compelling deal than it is now. As is, you'd be shortsighted to buy something this compromised, even if it is priced to sell.when.eng("eng.perm.init")