Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 106.
Last week, we picked up some plants for the yard, but bad weather all week kept me from planting them, and it seemed that this was reflected into the whole week. With daily hopes of clearing up, and a few medical appointments for my wife, time for development was spread somewhat thin. I was able to do a bit of coding, but it always takes a little while to get into something, and to leave it after a bit for some errand doesn't make things easy.
News-wise, the week started slow, but started to pick up a bit near the end. Let me start with the tech news that caught my attention this week:
Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition phones.
GALAXY S 4 Nexus edition eyes-on: Hugo Barra?s got it - SlashGear
HTC One Google Edition made official with ?Nexus User Experience? - SlashGear
For months, there was speculation on the successor of the Nexus 4 smartphone from Google. Motorola was suspected to be the one, but (also announced this week) their mysterious Moto X phone is being released as a "carrier" phone rather than a "Nexus" one.
Moto X: The First Smartphone Assembled in the USA - News Bytes - Motorola Mobility LLC
For the people who don't know what the above all means, let me explain:
Cellphone carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile etc) as well as manufacturers (Motorola, Samsung etc) make their own modifications to the Android operating system that runs your phone.
In some cases, fairly minimal, with just a few carrier-specific apps, but others (Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, B&N's NOOK) create an entirely new user experience to make the device easier to use and more "brand-focused".
Because not everyone appreciates these changes, people use rooting and custom Android installs (roms) to make their device more to their liking. The top shell gets replaced by a different one, missing apps re-added and others removed, but some devices even get an extended life with newer operating systems even though the original company no longer supports the device.
One device in particular, the HTC HD2, has surpassed all expectations by starting with Windows Mobile 6.5, and modded to run Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, Android 2.2 through to 4.2, Ubuntu, MeeGo and even Firefox OS.
However, while still in debate as to is it actually is, many carriers think of rooting as something that voids warranty, so a couple of years ago, Google started it's "Nexus" program.
A Nexus device runs true "stock" unmodified Android, just like Google intended it to be. No carrier or manufacturer modifications, just plain Android.
In addition to the lack of "bloatware" (carrier-apps and pre-installed games for example), because these devices run a clean version of Android, they are also the ones that receive updates the first whenever a new version of Android is released, making it the perfect solution for people who enjoy using the latest stuff.
While similar, the Google Edition phones are a bit different than devices from the "Nexus" program.
While both groups run the same "clean" Android, Nexus phones are designed to be what they are. Their specifications and abilities are build based on the specifications of Android.
A Google Edition phone, such as the HTC One and the S4, were designed to be so-called feature phones, and as of such, both HTC and Samsung have added companion apps to extend the phone beyond stock Android.
In plain English, this means that these Google Edition phones will not have the bloat that their carrier-versions have, but they also lack some of their special abilities.
For example, on the HTC One, the camera app will be the standard Google one, and not the one that takes multiple pictures and select the best. On the Galaxy S4, the cool people-remover feature (from the TV ad) will also not be included in the Google Edition.
So while you do get one of the "super phones" of the year, it will not be as "super" as its carrier counterpart.
Of course after release the modding community will likely provide these apps for download so you can add the functionality back in there, but if you are thinking of getting one of these phones, it might be easier to get a "bloated" carrier edition for less, and then just strip out the things you don't need with root, rather than trying to add things back in there and pay more.
100 Million iPod Touches sold.
Apple: 100 million iPod touches sold since 2007
Alongside a new iPod Touch model (a cheaper model), this week, Apple announced it has sold 100 million iPod Touch devices so far.
Very impressive, considering that smartphones have taken over a large part of the portable music playback market.
I haven't used my iPods for quite some time. For development and testing, I have 3 generations of iPod Touch models, along with an iPod Nano 4 and even an old 60GB iPod Video, but with the popularity of tablets, I haven't been doing much with them. The one that does gets used every now and then is the iPod Touch 4, but only minimal.
After the announcement, I figured it would be interesting to dig up the iPod Touch 1 again, and just spend some time with it.
The first thing I noticed was that, aside from the retina resolution on the newest models, the interface hasn't changed much.
Down below a bit more of my experiences with the revisit of the iPod Touch 1, along with some pictures of the iPod Touch 1 running iOS 3.1.3 next to the iPod Touch 4 running iOS 6.1.3.
Mandatory Remote Play for PS4:
In last weeks newsletter (https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-cat...ewsletter-105/) I wrote about the soon to be available nVidia Shield device, a gaming device capable of playing games located on a PC. Both Sony and Microsoft have something in the pipe-line that should offer something similar. Sony actually had something like it for a while with the PS3 + PSP combo, but never really did much with it.
This time, they are though.
PS4 developer: Sony mandates Vita Remote Play for all games • Blogs • Eurogamer.net
It seems Sony is now pushing for the Vita to become more useful than a more expensive Nintendo 3DS system by forcing developers to make sure that their games will work through Remote Play on the PS Vita.
With initial reports and from the PS4 announcement a couple of weeks ago, it seemed that the games would be ran from the cloud, but while that will likely remain, the Remote Play feature of the PS4 will use a technique similar as the nVidia Shield.
It is great to see that companies are finally starting to look into a more mature portable gaming experience.
If you are somewhat into games, or have been following technology related websites throughout the last 6 months or so (or have been reading this newsletter), you might have noticed the writings about companies like Sony and Microsoft trying to change the used games market.
I've shared my thoughts about this in a couple of newsletters (I don't think it is right for MS and Sony to prevent people from selling/loaning/renting video games), but never addressed the other side of the story.
Yesterday, I got an email from a used games retailer with some ads in it in regards of something other than games. In the wake of the XBOX One and PS4 stuff, they have been working on expanding their business in other areas, and are now doing trades on technology items such as tablets, media players and smartphones.
It is a great idea, but I'm not sure if I understand their way of valuing them.
The Ad itself was quite misleading in that it showed an iPod Classic for $67, but on the site (I selected the newest model in the largest size) it would bring in only $42, which (strangely I think) isn't much off from a 32GB Nexus 7 ($43, listed as $61 in the ad).
I know these companies make money on trades by getting it cheap and selling it high but less than new, but are these prices based on just a profit percentage, or are they based on a lack of interest from the majority of people?
During my time spent with the iPod Touch 1 this week (see below), I noticed some physical limitations, but the main one was a forced OS version-check when installing applications, and not by actual device hardware limitations, and, especially with Android, many older devices are kept up to date thanks to the modding community, so I would expect a bit more for tech-trade-in-solutions.
iPod Touch 1 Revisited.
Since the original Xoom, I haven't spent much time with the iPods. About 2 years ago, I used my iPod Touch 4 for a trip, and it worked quite well.
Last year, I had another trip, and while I did consider the iPod Touch 4, I wanted to take a bit more content with me than that the 8GB of space would allow me, so I ended up using the Samsung Galaxy Player 5 instead.
The Galaxy Player didn't work out so well for me, partially because the Android it runs works best on an actual smart phone, and doesn't lend itself so well in media player-only scenario. As protective as Apple is, their devices are perfect for what they are designed for, and I should have picked the iPod Touch 4 to take with me instead.
5 successful generations of the iPod resulted in the 2007 (a year before Android) release of the first iPhone. Its revolutionary features broke new grounds for phones everywhere, and its design is still reflected in many current products from both Apple as well as its competitors. Of course with the iPod being the one device that put Apple back on the map, it was only natural for a non-phone iPhone, the iPod Touch.
While small, the iPod Touch is something I would consider the first true tablet. Everything we do now on a Nexus 7, Transformer or even a Surface RT is something that originates from the first generation of iDevices.
Before those, there was the Newton, Palm Pilot and the Windows CE Handheld PC devices, but their user experience was mainly dictated by mimicking desktop/laptop functionality, or extending organizer functionality.
With the iPod Touch and the iPhone, the ideology moved away from using a pen to replace the mouse, and apps were designed for fingers instead.
While the pen has returned with the likes of the Surface Pro and the Galaxy Note devices, the finger has progressed towards the work-space as well, with Windows 8 being designed specifically with touch in mind.
So, after 6 years of technology advances, how does the iPod Touch 1 hold up?
The actual user interface hasn't changed much. Many of the original apps still exist on the newer ones, and visually they look the same, except for the crispness of the higher retina resolution on the newer one of course.
The store-apps are visually a bit different, with both the iTunes App and the Appstore App having animations on the newer version, something the older ones lack, but they host the same content. Most of the content in the Appstore is for newer iOS versions though.
Video playback works fine on the iPod Touch 1 as well. I had some Transformer TV episodes (also first generation for the ones interested) converted from DVD a while ago, and tried those on the iPod Touch and they looked great. The old iPod Touch has a screen-size limitation in that it doesn't play anything larger than 720x480, so it will not do HD or wide-screen content without down-scaling it a bit, but the episodes I tried were pre-widescreen, so they worked fine.
Actually because of their lower resolution, they looked nicer on the iPod's smaller screen than when I watched an episode on one of my tablets.
Aside from the iOS version check when installing apps, the biggest annoyance from my experience was that everything internet-related is considerably slower on the older iPod Touch. It does email, websites and all that, but just a bit slower than the newer devices.
But, while its 6 years old, and obviously no longer worth the $300 I paid for mine, I do believe that it is worth a bit more than a $15 trade-in.
And that is it for this weeks newsletter. It looks like the weather is clearing up, so I'll probably be digging holes all over the yard for some plants this afternoon. Not something to look forward to though.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and see you next week.
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