UPDATED: Is Verizon refusing to activate Nexus 7 LTE on their network?

google play nexus 7 lte att t mobileIt’s stuff like this which keeps consumer confidence low.

Author Jeff Jarvis is raising a bit of a stink on Google Plus. Apparently, after getting a Nexus 7 LTE, he tried to activate it on Verizon. During the Nexus 7 announcement it was stated that the New Nexus would be compatible on AT&T, T-Mo, and Verizon Wireless. That last one is proving to be a touch frustrating for Mr. Jarvis.

After reaching out to Verizon on Twitter he received the following cheeky reply:

Yeah, ya see VZW, that’s absolutely the wrong way to handle a customer with a problem. Sardonically patting them on the head with a “your bad”. This is made even funnier / more frustrating as their current line up of tablets is pretty uninspired. Well done VZW. You’ve managed to exacerbate a frustrating situation and highlight your own device line-up inadequacies all with one poorly thought out PR tweet.

It’s moves like this which just reinforce consumer desires to have less and less to do with their carriers. When they seemingly provide little value, and only stand as barriers to using the technology their customers want. The number of my personal friends who have expressed they wished their carrier was just a big dumb data pipe and to get out of the way. It doesn’t have to be that way VZW, but you have to offer a compelling reason or service.

Jeff Jarvis has been organizing his ordeal on Google Plus. At the time of this writing he was reaching out to Sundar Pichai, the Senior Vice President at Google in charge of Android and Chrome… So that’s probably not good…

As it stands now, Google is now advertising only AT&T and T-Mobile versions on Google Play. A little frustrating, as eventually you’d hope that we could get one version of the Nexus 7 which we could take to any carrier we want. It looks like Verizon doesn’t want to play ball…


Continue reading “UPDATED: Is Verizon refusing to activate Nexus 7 LTE on their network?”

IBM investing another $1 Billion dollars in Linux servers.

ibm logoReading the news feeds I was kind of hoping that IBM was going to make a push back into the consumer market. After transferring their consumer/business hardware solutions to Lenovo, they’ve become a company with a solid corporate reputation, but little consumer mind share.

Instead, what we’ll be seeing is a push to further Linux server solutions. Still very cool for the Linux ecosystem, and hopefully this means that some of that money and attention reaches consumer hardware down the line. It’s coming at a time where Linux has unseated Unix, but still trails Windows Server by a significant margin. IBM recently released a new line of rack mounted Linux servers, so they have a vested interest in the Linux ecosystem expanding.

The $1 Billion should be paid out over a 4-5 year period, and initially will focus on cloud solutions powered by IBM hardware.

More news to follow during LinuxCon, and I’ll update this post if there are any surprising new developments.

Now then IBM, about us consumers, could you throw us a bone? Maybe offer some contextual search services we could play with? I’d pay to have a Watson app on my phone.

NASA develops new RADAR which can detect human heart beat under 30 feet of rubble

NASA FINDER disaster relief radar heartbeat detectorI happen to live in an earthquake prone state, so the fear of being buried alive under a collapsed roof is very real.

NASA has developed a new tool to aid disaster relief first responders. A small box the size of a carry-on suitcase (an actual carry-on, not those gi-normous bags YOU try and cram into overhead space) utilizes RADAR to detect human heart beats through tens of feet of rubble and debris.

FINDER, which stands for “Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response”, isn’t just a tech proof of concept either. NASA has worked on fleshing out the device’s ecosystem focusing on ease of use and portability. FINDER’s battery will allow for up to 14 hours of use, and it’s controlled via tablet. NASA believes that most people should be capable of using FINDER after only a few minutes of introduction, and that it’s little different in operation than pointing a flashlight down a dark tunnel.

Lastly, even though FINDER is bleeding edge rescue tech, NASA estimates that individual units could sell for around $10,000. In terms of speeding up disaster response, that’s not a difficult price to pay.

(pic via PhysOrg)

TLD gives us a sneak peek of the iPad 5 casing!

This is actually a pretty decent scoop. TLD has gotten their hands on an iPad 5 shell, and they spend some time comparing it to the current iPad 4. The design will be very similar to the iPad Mini, thinner and slimmer with more rectangular edges. I still want to see a “pick it up off of a flat surface” test, as the Mini can be incredibly difficult to pick up off a tablet without sliding it around, potentially scratching it.

iPad 5 looks like it will feature much smaller bezels, but this means it’ll be an even tighter fit for all of the guts inside. Hopefully battery life doesn’t take a hit, and fingers crossed it doesn’t run any hotter than the current iPads do.

Jon Rettinger from TechnoBuffalo back tracks on his original Surface Pro review in time for Surface Pro 2.

I wrote a longer maudlin article about agenda “journalism” and bias. I had no idea I’d be rewarded so soon with another perfect example of why we journalists need to take a more nuanced approach to reviewing, and at least try to overcome our natural personal bias.

Screenshot (91)Windows 8 has been incredibly divisive in the tech community. Most of the commentary surrounding MS’s new OS has been pretty negative, and there have been a number of criticisms regarding changes to the UI. See, when you change something as well established as Windows, a UI which hasn’t been significantly altered since Windows 95, people are going to freak out. For as much as we like to think we want “new” and “bleeding edge” we don’t weather actual change all that well. Windows 8 was a shock for me, but after a couple days on a touchscreen laptop, I came to not only really like the UI, but also appreciate the improvements to file management and hardware resource management.

That’s the kicker however. I had to take a couple days to get used to it. I didn’t write up reviews and thoughts during that time. I wanted to understand it before I shared my experiences with readers, even though I was hopelessly behind the tsunami of early angry reviews.

Windows 8 is far from “bad”, it’s actually quite good. If Microsoft is guilty of anything here, it’s not making a bad product, but doing a miserable job of communicating with consumers what the changes were going to be.

And now, in time for the Surface 2 launch, we’re seeing people “come to appreciate” the changes to the UI. Now Windows 8 is “elegant”. Those adorable scamps, they just had to “get used to it”, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s not really as bad as their initial reviews would have led MILLIONS of tech enthusiasts and blog readers to believe. It’s almost like you get more honest and accurate information when you don’t put an un-boxing and first impressions video up as your proper review of a product. Interesting.

Sorry to pick on you Jon, but welcome to the club. Glad you finally figured out how to use a product that most of us haven’t had any serious or significant issues with. I hope you enjoy the Surface Pro 2 even more. Maybe spend more than a day with it before you “review” it?

Hit the jump for Mr. Rettinger’s ACTUAL review of the Microsoft Surface and Windows 8.

Continue reading “Jon Rettinger from TechnoBuffalo back tracks on his original Surface Pro review in time for Surface Pro 2.”

Google updating Wallet, Send money to other Wallet users, store Loyalty Cards

google wallet updateThe dream of mobile payments, tapping a phone to a store kiosk to pay for your shopping. Google’s been slowly pushing into this consumer relationship with Wallet. Storing your credit card information, and utilizing NFC to tap & pay at select retailers.  This hardware functionality has progressed very slowly as cell carriers have been trying to push a competing standard called ISIS, which uses a different kind of security which is incompatible with Google’s offering. Pretty much means we consumers get left without a working solution. Any time there’s a “format war” it’s bad for the industry (remember HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray). As it stands now, only 29 phones have proper NFC tap & pay functionality. I’m sure you notice a disturbing lack of Verizon and AT&T handsets on that list…

We’ve heard little news from the Wallet team over the last several months, but it looks like Google has been busy working on a Wallet expansion. Rolling out soon to Android users in the United States, Wallet is about to learn a few new tricks.

Google opened up the ability for Wallet users to send money to other Wallet users through GMail, and now that’s coming to the app. In a clear shot at services like Paypal, transfers from a linked bank account are free, and a 2.9% fee will be attached when sending money with credit or debit card.

In addition to payments, Google is also expanding the scope of Wallet to take some of the strain off of your physical non-digital wallet. If you’ve got a stack of store Loyalty cards, you can leave them at home now. Wallet will store and track your cards, coupons, and points alongside your purchases. Having used similar services, it’s nice just pulling up the card on my phone instead of having a bunch of filthy, peeling, plastic tabs on my key ring.

The Wallet update will roll out this week.

More info on the Google Commerce blog.

So long Google Nexus 4, and thanks for all the fish…

nexus 4 out of stock on google play somegadgetguyThe King is dead. Long live the king.

The market disrupting Nexus 4 is no longer in stock for either the 8GB or 16GB flavors on Google Play. LG’s first attempt at a pure Google handset was a controversial entry into our list of Nexii. Some loved the glass back, some loathed. Some people felt the camera under performed, and heavy users wished for more battery life.

What no one complained about however was the price. Starting at $199 OFF contract, Google found a brilliant price to shake up the mid-range and high-end markets. In sharing the Nexus 4 with friends and family, telling them it was a $200 phone, few realized I meant $200 out the door, not $200 on contract.

But all good things must come to an end. Google isn’t known for being sentimental. You wont see the Nexus 4 stick around as a lower cost alternative. Now we play the waiting game for the Next Nexus. It’s been teased and leaked, and we know LG is behind this next one as well, most likely a cousin to LG’s G2 like the Nexus 4 was to the Optimus G.

Fingers crossed Google can keep disrupting smartphone pricing…

Review: Blue Microphone’s Yeti Pro USB Microphone

Screenshot (88)An oldie, but a goodie.

Let’s take a look back at one of the best USB microphones currently on the market. The Yeti Pro is still chugging along as a great solution for those wanting to improve their home recording or podcasting capabilities.

Time to go hands on with this multi-pattern wunder-mic!