AT&T Isn’t Ready for 4G

Mike Isaac at Wired:

After Texas resident Keith Geissler noticed his new Motorola Atrix wasn’t offering the fast “4G” download and upload speeds that AT&T promised, he filed a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, asking the wireless company to “uncap” his data connection.

AT&T’s response was surprising. While the company assured Geissler it “has not capped the upload speeds on the Atrix,” it did admit that the phone’s HSUPA capability — a key feature in increasing upload speeds on the Atrix as well as the new HTC Inspire 4G smartphone — will not be enabled until a later date.

AT&T markets the Motorola Atrix and the HTC Inspire 4G as 4G smartphones. The problem is that 4G hasn’t been turned on on AT&T’s network. When will it happen? Some time in April. So what do you call a business tactic that says you’ll get one thing and then delivers something else? Fraud.

Philips AmbientLED LED Bulb

Michael Graham Richard at TreeHugger:

The Philips AmbientLED 12.5-watt A19 LED lightbulb (quite a name!) is probably the favorite LED bulb that I’ve tried so far. It beats the competition when it comes to light output (800 lumens vs. 450-590 lumens for the other LEDs that I’ve tried), the design of the bulb is very innovative, and light quality is excellent.

The Philips AmbientLED is rated for 25,000 hours, which translates to an average usable lifetime of about 15 years according to Philips. Not only that LEDs do not use mercury, like CFLs do. I’ve been wanting to try out an LED bulb but the cost has been prohibitive. But I don’t think I’m calculating the cost correctly. For instance, how much does it cost when an incandescent or CFL bulb goes out and you have to go to the nearest hardware store to get some bulbs, every year for 15 years? Not having to worry about light bulbs for 15 years might be worth the US$39.95 asking price.

HTC Arrive Review by Engadget

Chris Ziegler at Engadget:

One area while the Arrive falls short is the display: at 3.6 inches, it’s a little cramped. It’s not a problem, per se — but when you put it alongside a Samsung Focus or an HTC HD7, the difference becomes noticeable. What bugged us more than the size, though, is the quality; in an age when IPS, SLCD, and Super AMOLED displays are dominating the mid- and high-end smartphone market, the Arrive’s run-of-the-mill TFT LCD falls short. Contrast is noticeably worse than most 2011-spec handsets, and the colors immediately wash out when you tilt it to the side. It’s on par with the Surround, HD7, and EVO 4G in this regard — fine by last year’s standards, not so fine this year, particularly considering that HTC’s been using SLCD in almost everything lately from the Desire up through the Thunderbolt.

In other words the 3.6-inch LCD in the HTC Arrive is too small, comes up short, and should just leave.

AU Optronics to Supply LCD for iPad 2

Reuters:

The Economic Daily News, citing no sources for its information, said the panels’ selling price will be three to four times more than regular panels of the same size, giving a big boost to AU’s profit.

AU could ship 30 million of the screens in a year, it said. The order will take up over half the capacity of its plant in Taichung, central Taiwan.

Compared to other really cheap 10-inch LCDs that AUO makes the IPS versions are three to four times the price. Not surprising at all. On a different note, Apple probably has strict quality controls for the displays but if I were in the market for an iPad 2 I sure wouldn’t want an AUO display in there.

iPad 2 Sales on eBay

Yahoo! News:

Curiously, the most popular iPad 2 models sold were the bare-bones 16 GB version with only Wi-Fi, and the fully tricked-out version with 64 GB of storage and 3G capability.

Canada and Russia were the biggest iPad 2 importers. I think Apple should move to a single-day global rollout.

Gadget Owner Personality Types

Jaymi Heimbuch at TreeHugger proposes six personality types for gadget owners: The Proud Hoarder, The In-Denial Hoarder, The Perfectionist, The Oh!Shiny!-ist, The It’s-Not-Me-It’s-Youist, and the Meh-ist. I think this description fits me:

This is someone who puts serious thought into the devices they decide to own. It’s not about the latest and greatest, or about the most expensive or difficult to find. This is about finding the exact right thing for what they need. A Perfectionist will research for weeks to find exactly what they want, be it a laptop, a camera, a cell phone — and once they find what they’re looking for, they’ll research for weeks again to get the best deal. The Perfectionist is someone who puts a whole lot of effort into getting only the best, and what’s better is that once they have it, they keep it in mint condition. Who wouldn’t, after putting that much effort into finding something? The Perfectionist personality revolves around the hunt, and pride of ownership.

The Perfectionist. I’ve been actively shedding the stuff that I’ve been accumulating for my entire life and in terms of high-tech gadgets that I use on a daily basis I’ve dwindled it down to two: iPhone 4 and MacBook Pro. Everything else must go.

Google Has the Handset Makers by the Balls

Ashlee Vance and Peter Burrows at Bloomberg Businessweek:

Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball:

So here’s the Android bait-and-switch laid bare. Android was “open” only until it became popular and handset makers dependent upon it. Now that Google has the handset makers by the balls, Android is no longer open and Google starts asserting control.

Conclusion: Google is no longer open.

Samsung Mass Produces Transparent LCDs

BusinessWire:

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced today that it began mass production of a 22-inch transparent LCD panel in March this year.

The panels come in two types, the black-and-white type and the color type, and they have a contrast ratio of 500:1 with WSXGA+ (1680*1050) resolution.

Compared with the conventional LCD panels that use back light unit (BLU) and have 5% transparency, Samsung’s transparent LCD panel boasts the world’s best transparency rate of over 20% for the black-and-white type and over 15% for the color type.

One important step toward transparent LCDs for smartphones to really get some augmented reality action going.

DARPA Urban Photonic Sandtable Display

DARPA:

Many of today’s conflicts occur in urban settings, making the ability to visualize conditions in urban areas increasingly important to commanders and mission planners. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently completed a five-year program called Urban Photonic Sandtable Display (UPSD) that creates a real-time, color, 360-degree 3D holographic display to assist battle planners. Without having to wear 3D goggles or glasses, a team of planners can view a large-format, interactive 3D display. Until now, two-dimensional, high-resolution flat panel color displays and 3D static monochrome images have been the most advanced visual planning tools available.

Full 360-degree holographic objects with 12 inches of depth based on full-parallax 3D technology that can be scaled up to six feet diagonally. Amazing.

Sony Upset, Amazon Shrugs

Cat Griffin, Amazon spokesperson, via ars technica:

Cloud Player is an application that lets customers manage and play their own music. It’s like any number of existing media management applications. We do not need a license to make Cloud Player available.

And:

[W]e do not need a license to store music in Cloud Drive. The functionality of saving MP3s to Cloud Drive is the same as if a customer were to save their music to an external hard drive or even iTunes.

If I purchase music, store it in the cloud, and listen to it on my computer later on, what’s the problem? I love this cloud MP3 player.