Sony vowed a long (long, long) overdue PlayStation Store remake starting this week, and it delivered just that today with launches in Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. As promised, the PS3 shop’s cleaner design scales more elegantly from standard to high definition, brings more intelligent searching and makes it easier to find everything related to a given game. We still wouldn’t be too eager to dive in just yet, as there’s been hiccups early on — the sheer amount of traffic has reportedly brought the new store to a crawl, on top of teething issues with adding funds and recognizing PlayStation Plus memberships. Sony has promised fixes, but we’re suddenly not feeling so bad about having to wait for that October 23rd North American launch.
Just when we thought our favorite Android virtual keyboard couldn’t get much better, TouchType decided to prove us wrong by launching SwiftKey 3 Beta. If you’re one of the product’s 30,000+ VIP users, you’ll want to get your hands on the company’s newest creation right now, for free. What’s new? The space bar is no longer required, for one — Smart Space detects and corrects “miss-typed or omitted spaces across whole phrases.” Paradoxically, that same space bar is now wider, just in case you’re feeling nostalgic. Smart punctuation further enhances the UI, with language-specific improvements in tow. In fact, SwiftKey 3 offers support for seven new languages — Korean, Estonian, Farsi, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and Serbian (for a total of 42). Finally, you’ll find two lovely new themes, Cobalt and the Ice Cream Sandwich-inspired Holo. We’ve been playing with TouchType’s latest and greatest for a few hours now on both our HTC One X and our Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and we’ve stopped using the space bar completely. Did you notice? Wedidn’tthinkso. Check out the gallery of screenshot below, hit the break for a demo video and the full PR, then follow the More Coverage link to sign up as a VIP.
Just a few days after suffering a legal setback in Dutch court, Samsung has now decided to delay the launch of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, amid its heightening patent infringement battle with Apple. In a hearing today, the Korean manufacturer announced that it would refrain from selling or marketing its new tablet within Australia, before September 30th. Samsung made a similar concession earlier this month, agreeing to halt sales of its slates until today’s hearing and to provide Apple with product samples at least seven days prior to its Australian launch. The company says it presented the samples on Thursday, but Cupertino’s lawyers insisted that the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 still infringes upon its patents. Samsung, meanwhile, said in a statement that it’s preparing to launch a counter-attack down under, telling reporters that it “intends to file a cross claim against Apple Australia and Apple Inc regarding the invalidity of the patents previously asserted by Apple and also a cross claim against Apple regarding violation of patents held by Samsung by selling its iPhones and iPads.” The next formal court hearings are scheduled for September 26th and 29th. Stay tuned.
There’s a Chinese saying that will suit most of our Western readers here: “quenching thirst by gazing at plums.” Oh yes, we’re talking about Dell’s Streak 10 Pro alright. Just as promised, said US company has skipped its home country to debut its first 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet in China (ka-ching!), and we happened to be at the Beijing press event for some intimate hands-on time. To be honest, you won’t be needing many imaginary plums for this Android’s rather mundane specs: it’s equipped with the oh-so-familiar 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 T20 chip, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 1,280 x 800 LCD (with Corning’s Gorilla Glass), 5 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel camera back and front, and regular-size SDHC expansion. That said, Chinese buyers can grab this 16GB WiFi tablet plus 2GB of cloud storage for just ¥2,999 ($465) a pop — a slightly more attractive price compared to its competitors. Check out our impressions after the break.
We’re no strangers to SwiftKey here at Engadget HQ, and today TouchType is launching a major new version of everyone’s favorite Android virtual keyboard — SwiftKey Tablet X for devices running Honeycomb, and SwiftKey X for devices running Android 2.x. Both applications improve upon the original by using TouchType’s Fluency 2.0 artificial intelligence engine, a unique predictive phrase system which learns how you write. New features include cloud learning, which analyzes how you type in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and text messages to predict phrases in your style, plus keypress technology which continually monitors your typing precision and adapts the touch-sensitive area for each key to improve prediction accuracy. SwiftKey now supports 17 languages (with more coming soon) and is smart enough to interpret three languages at once. There’s also a handful of other enhancements, including support for themes which allow users to customize the look and feel of the keyboard. And that split keyboard option we first encountered at CES? It’s there of course, in the tablet version.
We’ve been testing SwiftKey Tablet X on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a few days now, alongside SwiftKey X on a handful of phones (including the Nexus S and the EVO 3D), and it’s probably the best virtual keyboard we’ve used on Android yet. In fact, it’s now replacing the stock keyboard on all our HTC Sense-equipped handsets. Prediction accuracy improves quickly after you start using the keyboard, and we liked having the option to turn off the spacebar-triggered auto-completion of words and phrases. Another useful feature is the ability to display arrow / cursor keys on the phone version. The supplied themes are attractive (especially Neon), and the layouts are intuitive — although we’d have preferred the numbers to be arranged in a row instead of mimicking a numpad. Both applications are available today only for $1.99 in the Android Market. Regular pricing is $4.99 for SwiftKey Tablet X, and $3.99 for SwiftKey X. Take a look at our screenshot galleries below, and hit the break for our hands-on videos and more.
Up till now, the ranks of 3D-capable smartphones were neatly organized by territory: Japan had the Sharp Aquos SH-12C, the US had the HTC EVO 3D, and Europe had the LG Optimus 3D. Now it’s all getting a tiny bit messier (and more competitive!) with HTC’s announcement that the EVO 3D has boarded a transatlantic liner and is en route to the green shores of Europa. Available “broadly” across the old continent, this Android 2.3 handset touts a 4.3-inch display with qHD (540 x 960) resolution and an added parallax barrier layer that allows it to deliver a glasses-free 3D effect. We call it an effect because real 3D it ain’t, but at least it’ll allow you to review the three-dimensional pics you snap with the included pair of 5 megapixel autofocus cameras. There’s also a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon purring within for the performance obsessives and a generous 1730mAh battery — perhaps the biggest advantage that we can see for this phone over the similarly specced (but 3D-less) Sensation. Jump past the break for the full spec sheet and PR or hit up our review to learn just how awesome the EVO 3D’s shutter button really is.
The N9 has arrived. Functional units of Nokia’s long-awaited MeeGo smartphone have finally landed into our eager hands and we’ve got a gallery of images to provide you with below. What we can say from our first experience is that we’re in the presence of a fantastically designed device with a gorgeous AMOLED screen and some highly responsive performance. Hold tight as we’re updating our fuller impressions after the break, where you’ll soon be treated to our first hands-on video with the Nokia N9.
The Droid 3 is upon us! Well, it is if you live in China and don’t mind calling it the Milestone 3. A new XT883 model has just been made official by Motorola during China Telecom’s CDMA Summit, touting the tagline “the third Milestone” and a new five-row slideout QWERTY keyboard. The salient specs include a 4-inch touchscreen with qHD (540 x 960) resolution, a dual-core processor capable of driving 1080p video recording, an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, up to 32GB of built-in storage, and of course, Android 2.3 as the shipping OS. A pretty compelling package, we think you’ll agree. It’s coming to China this summer, though Moto could still be crafty enough to squeeze the US launch in before actual units start shipping to Yao Ming’s homeland. Because, well, who’s ever heard of a Milestone coming before a Droid?
The long wait is finally over! Joining the likes of HTC EVO 3D and Sharp SH-12C is LG’s very own Optimus 3D aka Thrill 4G for AT&T, which we first got our hands on back in February and again in March. The specs for this Android 2.2 device (yeah, we know) have remained untouched since we last checked: here we have a 4.3-inch glassessless 3D LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP4430 processor, 512MB of speedy dual channel RAM, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and a couple of 5 megapixel cameras on the back that can capture 3D 1080p video at 24fps, or 3D 720p at 30fps. Other tidbits include 14.4Mbps HSPA+ connection, an HDMI-out port, and a removable 1500mAh battery, all inside a 5.93 ounce package. Alas, no date’s been mentioned for the phone’s US launch, but the lucky Europeans will get to pick up this phone first, followed by the rest of the world “over the next several weeks.” Stay tuned while we keep our eyes peeled open for further news.
Today is the PlayBook’s official launch day in the UK, but one of the island kingdom’s biggest mobile players won’t be taking part. O2 has apparently been reaching out to subscribers who’ve expressed an interest in acquiring RIM’s 7-inch tablet on the network with word that the company “will not be selling the device.” The communiqué to those users states that “unfortunately there are some issues with the end to end customer experience,” though O2 continues to work with RIM on future PlayBook products and releases and doesn’t rule out carrying this particular slate in the future. We reached out for an official statement and the company confirmed that it has no plans to sell the PlayBook at this time. Maybe once it gets a native email client, eh?
The HTC bonanza that Sprint has been cooking up for a while now has its official launch date: June 24th. That will be the day when the 4.3-inch EVO 3D and its tablet buddy, the 7-inch EVO View 4G, launch on the Now Network, both equipped with WiMAX radios and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) as their OS. The 1.2GHz dual-core EVO 3D costs $200 on contract, with pre-orders available right now provided you buy a $50 Sprint gift card, whereas the 1.5GHz single-core EVO View 4G will set you back double that, at $400, while still requiring a two-year contract. Skip past the break for the full press release details.
Oh, we’ve also just noticed that Sprint Premier customers will be able to buy the EVO 3D online on June 21st — a three-day headstart on the competition to say thank you for being so damn premier.
Guess who’s sneakily beating the pack to the title of having the globe’s first 7-inch Honeycomb tablet… why, it’s none other than ViewSonic! The ViewPad 7x (1024 x 600 resolution) managed to leak out earlier this month, but now it’s fully official with Google’s Android 3.0.1 OS, HSPA+ connectivity, and a pair of cameras, one on the front and one on the back. A Tegra 2 dual-core processor plus an HDMI-out have also been included inside a featherweight 380g package. Ironically, ViewSonic’s neglected to provide a release date for this “world first” tablet, but we’ll be hitting up its booth here at Computex for some more hands-on time and making sure to collect that and every other salient detail about the ViewPad 7x.
Verizon is seriously diversifying its portfolio today with the official in-store launch of four new smartphones. Three of them roll up in Android gear, though they all have major selling points beyond Google’s software. LG’s Revolution is the sole LTE-capable handset of the bunch, bringing with it a 4.3-inch screen and pre-installed Netflix for $250. The Droid X2 undercuts it on price, at $200, but doubles the core count with its Tegra 2 processor and ramps up resolution to qHD (960 x 540). Gaming aficionados can spend the same amount on the Xperia Play from Sony Ericsson, which offers a slideout gamepad and unique PlayStation Certified status. Bringing up the rear is HTC’s well-traveled Trophy, a 3.8-inch Windows Phone that accepts it’s a little late to the party and therefore slices $50 off its asking price, with a $150 levy before the obligatory two-year contract. What say you — buy, try, or keep waiting?
Nokia has just unveiled a strange new beast of a smartphone. Internally, it’s your good old C7 — 3.5-inch AMOLED screen, 720p video recording, 8 megapixel camera, a pentaband radio, and Symbian as your zombieOS — but externally it’s taken on a lick of gold paint and a rear cover made of real leather. The price for a phone built quite so luxuriously is said to be upwards of €800 ($1,126) before taxes and subsidies and launch is expected in Q3 in select countries across Europe and Asia. Russia in particular is called out as a successful market for such “premium” phones, with Nokia’s Gabriel Speratti, General Manager for its operations in the country, explaining that:
“We have a large number of users who are looking for products with a build quality and superior materials that attest to their success and social standing. In some areas, possession of such premium products is the passport to being taken seriously.”
We have to agree, owning a phone like this will certainly have an effect on your social life, we’re just not so sure it’ll be a positive one.
Sigma knows that $9,700 is a lot of money to pay for, well, anything, so it’s couching the hefty price tag on its new flagship DSLR, the SD1, in the context of it competing against medium format digital cameras — whose prices don’t generally fall below five figures. Trouble is, as professionally inclined, well designed, and durably built as the SD1 may be, it still only packs a 15.3 megapixel CMOS sensor that spans 24mm x 16mm (or APS-C size). That means it’ll have to earn its stripes on the battlefield of image quality, which it’ll be ready to march onto in less than a month’s time. Sigma promises to start shipping units in early June, so if you have the cash to spare (plus a little extra to fund a suitably awesome lens), you can start building up your anticipation today. Full PR and camera specs can be found after the break.
Brits eager for a taste of the first 7-inch BlackBerry device have just under a month of anticipation left to go. UK retailers have today revealed the date and prices at which they’ll be selling RIM’s PlayBook: depending on how much integrated storage you want, you’ll have to pay up £400 (16GB), £480 (32GB), or £560 (64GB) for your slate, starting from June 16th. Aside from the gigabytes, you’ll be getting the gigahertz too, with a dual-core 1,000MHz TI OMAP4430 processor keeping the PlayBook’s insides warm and its outsides responsive. Availability will be widespread, with Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4u, and Best Buy UK having already announced they’ll be stocking the tablet. You can even hit up the source link now and lay down some cash to secure your pre-order.
It’s no secret that negotiations between Google and the recording industry haven’t been going very well. Perhaps even less surprising are the reasons behind the stalemate. According to the Hollywood Reporter, discussions between the two parties have sputtered thanks to three usual suspects: money, file-sharing and concerns over competition. During licensing talks, Google agreed to pay upfront advances to all participating labels, but the major players wanted bigger guarantees. That prompted the indie contingent to ask for similar money, unleashing a snowball of stakes-raising. The two sides also failed to agree on how to handle pirated music, with the industry demanding that Google not only ban illegally downloaded files from users’ lockers, but that it erase P2P sites from its search results, as well.
Hovering above all this bargaining was a thick cloud of destabilizing uncertainty. Some execs welcomed the idea of a new iTunes competitor, while others were less enthusiastic, amid concerns that Google Music wouldn’t deliver new revenue streams. The ultimate question, of course, is how negotiations will proceed now that Google’s already launched the service. The labels were warned that Tuesday’s I/O announcement was coming, but the search giant didn’t do much to mend fences when it effectively blamed the record execs for holding up negotiations. It’s hard to say whether Google’s bravado will help or hurt matters, but according to a source from a major label, “People are pissed.”
Man, Lenovo isn’t even trying to keep the ThinkPad X1 under wraps anymore. The slinky new MacBook Air competitor has just slipped out in a video commercial on the company’s own YouTube channel, where it shows off a keyboard that’s both backlit and spill-resistant, and a Gorilla Glass screen that is apparently girlfriend-proof. See the video after the break and circle May 17th as your acquisition date if you’re after one — that’s when Lenovo promises the X1 will be arriving.