Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions


Apple Planned the iPad BEFORE the iPhone. Who knew?

February 10, 2012

Everyone assumes that Apple was working on the iPhone before the iPad. However, the recent lawsuit by Proview Electronics suing Apple over the name 'iPad' says others wise. The iPhone was launched in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. However, in 2006 Apple purchased the iPad trademark from display manufacturer Proview Electronics (Taiwan) for $55,000 by way of a front company called IP Application Development. So it appears Apple planned on making a tablet before the iPhone even came to market!

According to TMC's Peter Bernstein, Proview says the trademark deal with Apple did not include the rights to the trademark in China.

Dell Voice Launches in Canada - Will it Fail As Badly As Dell Video Chat?

February 9, 2012

Dell has partnered with Ontario-based Fongo to offer Dell Voice, a VoIP app exclusively available exclusively in Canada that offers a Canadian phone number and free calls to most of Canada. Also, incoming calls and Dell Voice-to-Dell Voice calls are free of charge. This reminds me of how Dell partnered with Sightspeed, now a part of Logitech to offer a multi-party video conferencing service called Dell Video Chat. I reviewed the software and it works well, but with free alternatives like Skype, having the ability to do 9-way (3x3) Brady Bunch video is a very niche application. Practically nobody has ever heard of Dell Video Chat, so here let me share a couple screenshots of it...

Screenshot of me testing it:

2x2 (4-way video call)

I suspect Dell Voice will suffer the same ignominious fate as Dell Video Chat. There's just too much competition, including superior offerings from Google Voice, Skype, and most recently Vonage.

Why Apple's A5 Processor is Big (Siri) + Why Doesn't Siri Support Dictating Emails?

February 6, 2012

According to CNet, Apple's A5 processor includes noise-reduction circuitry licensed from a start-up called Audience. Audience's technology enhances speech and works well even when you hold the phone are arm's length ('far-field speech'). This explains the mysteriously larger A5 processor on the iPhone 4S and why the previous gen iPhone 4 didn't get the Siri via a simple iOS software upgrade.

The iPhone 4S has just a few advantages over the iPhone 4, including a an amazing 8-megapixel camera that captures HD video, a faster dual-core processor and of course Siri. However, if you don't care about the HD video or better quality photographs, you might be inclined to buy a new or even used iPhone 4 for less money or keep the iPhone 4 you already have. Many iPhone 4 users were none to happy with not getting Siri and assumed Apple was simply trying to force users to upgrade to the 4S.

Google to Offer Free Tablets?

January 5, 2012

Several media reports are claiming that Google is going to be offering their own tablet soon, including DigiTimes which said, "As Google reportedly may launch an own-brand tablet PC to compete against Apple's iPad, sources from Google's upstream supply chain believe that Google, instead of Apple, may actually be targeting Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire as its major competitor."

The Amazon Kindle Fire had torrid sales for the Christmas holiday season, certainly earning its "Fire" moniker. You can't go wrong with a $199 tablet device that surfs the web, runs apps, and consumes entertainment content using Amazon Prime, which features a Netflix-like streaming service in addition to Amazon's other paid digital content - e-books, music, etc. Amazon gambled consumers would consume paid content to recoup their losses and it has paid off handsomely.

This purported Nexus tablet will come with a 7" display, run Android's latest Ice Cream Sandwich and will be priced under $199 to undercut even the mighty Amazon Kindle Fire. What is Google thinking? They're thinking the same thing Amazon is thinking - take a loss on the hardware and subsidize the cost of the tablet by selling digital content, such as movies, books, and music.

Winter Wake-up App Wakes You Up Earlier If It Snows

December 29, 2011

Yesterday, I reviewed Zeo Sleep Manager and now today I came across another interesting sleep app created by Boondoggle called "Winter Wake-up", which wakes you up early if it snows giving you time to shovel the snow off your car, de-ice it, and make the slower commute to work due to road conditions. Now you won't have to tell your boss, "Sorry I'm late. I didn't know it was going to snow".

Winter Wake-Up is a smartphone alarm app automatically checks the weather and wakes you up earlier if it snows. You set the number of minutes to be woken earlier for "frost" (a little dusting) and the number of minutes to be woken up earlier if it snows.

Impressive SkyDrive App for iPhone & Windows Phone Released

December 14, 2011

The SkyDrive app is now available both for the iPhone and Windows Phone users running the Mango update. This is a kick ass app that might make me switch from using Dropbox. You may recall I use Dropbox in my home surveillance recipe, which helped catch someone in the act of messing with my home theater.

The SkyDrive app isn't simply for viewing & uploading files or photos. Using either the iOS app or the Windows Phone app, you can upload photos, files, documents and manage your SkyDrive folders right from your mobile device.

Microsoft Lync Mobile Client Launches in 3 Days!

December 9, 2011

Back in August I told you Microsoft informed me that the Microsoft Lync mobile client was coming "very very soon". Microsoft told me the mobile Lync client would support both voice and video on Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Mobile 7, explaining, "it will dependent on the device, but it will be enabled at some point at time." They pointed out that some devices don't have a front-facing camera so having a videoconference via a mobile Lync client wouldn't necessarily make sense.

Well, at the Lync mobile "partner-only" virtual event some more details about the long awaited mobile Lync client has been released. First, the launch date. According to this tweet, Lync Mobile clients will be on the market / launched on December 12th.

Apple's Ridiculous Patent Claims Against Samsung Destroyed!

December 9, 2011

Just had an awesome read on the Samsung vs. Apple patent battles and the ridiculousness of it all. For instance, the following is a list of alternative design options that Apple thought Samsung should have considered to not infringe on their patents. First off, the smartphone list that Apple provided, with my comments italicized:
  • Front surface that isn't black.

iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad Review

November 29, 2011

Portable Sound Labs has a cool new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. I wrote about them earlier this month and asked for a review unit to check out, which they promptly sent to me. Here's a photo of the iMainGo XP sitting on a stand on my desk:

As I mentioned in my previous article, "I'd be curious how this product sounds with VoIP applications, such as Skype. With the iPad's decent hardware echo cancellation and many VoIP softphone clients sporting software-based echo cancellation, it might be nice to have beefy speakers with lots of bass and HD audio support to carry the full tonal quality of the remote speaker."

Unfortunately, once you connect the headset jack into the iMainGo XP, the iPad's built-in microphone is disabled and the iMainGoXP doesn't have an embedded microphone.

Samsung Mocks Apple Fanboys in Hilarious Galaxy S II Ad

November 23, 2011

Business Insider's Steve Kovach has an interesting interview with Todd Pendleton, Samsung's Chief Marketing Officer, and Brian Wallace, Samsung's VP of Strategic Marketing, on a new ad campaign that mocks Apple fanboys and promotes Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy S II Android phone. Steve writes:
I mostly use Apple gear, including an iPhone, and even I thought the ad was clever. It's an interesting take on a smartphone campaign. Instead of touting specs and features, Samsung is going right for Apple's jugular, mocking the fanboy culture while saying "hey, there are other great smartphones out there too." It's a ballsy move.

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