Author: Richard Cartwright

Kindle Fire about to light up in the UK?

Tech blog site Know Your Mobile recently reported that Amazon is getting ready to roll out the Kindle Flame in the UK according to the inevitable “source close to the launch”. The 7 inch tablet has been taking the US by storm, selling for about half the price of the Apple iPad. In fact, the American tech pundits speculate that Amazon takes a loss on every tablet sold.  The reason for this is that the Kindle Fire is really nothing more than a device to read books and watch videos with that just happens to be a tablet as well. Like game console makers, any loss on the hardware is more than made up by inducing customers to buy into the Amazon ecosystem of Kindle format books, Amazon movie and video rentals and even Audible audiobooks. In all likelihood, the Fire has not been released in the UK as yet because Amazon needed more time to strike the UK content deals required to make the new tablet viable in the UK market and to beef up their UK data center. While Amazon has Loveflims, the licensing  for the Fire would require additional arrangements. Further, compared to what Amazon has on offer for US customers and especially US Amazon Prime customers, Amazon would have to line up far more content to compete with say, Netflix.   For example, I would be quite curious if the Fire...

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Hard Drive Shortages Lead to Higher Prices-And SSDs in the Cloud?

The recent flooding reported in Thailand is definitely going to impact the computer hard drive supply for at least the next six months, with Western Digital reporting that as much as a fifty percent reduction in production.  Western Digital’s main facility is mostly under water, and precision tools and clean rooms do not respond well to large quantities of muddy water.  Since many of the component suppliers for hard drive manufactures are located in the same general area, the entire industry will be affected as companies clean up, purchase new equipment and retool. What does this mean for the consumer? Because computers are assembled largely in the Pacific Rim nations and work on a “just in time” supply basis, expect greater delays in receiving new machines and higher prices. In fact, be prepared to not be able to get certain size drives at any price.  There have been reports that the supply chain is already starting to increase the price on existing stocks.  The smart money would be to go ahead and purchase a new hard drive now, especially the higher capacity drives, even if you don’t expect to use it for a few months.  The other alternative would be to simply wait out the shortage, as often industries that suffer a supply chain problem over build and create excess product and prices drop accordingly. The growing push toward...

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US iPhone 4S users don’t get a cool English butler, but do get restaurant directions

The big selling point of the iPhone 4S is the addition of the Siri artificial intelligence assistant. In the UK, Siri has the stereotyped English butler synthesized sound. In the US, Siri is voiced by a female synthesizer type voice.  For US iPhones the Siri voice can not be changed. Apparently, part of the reason for this is that  the location based services that are only available in the the US are tied to the particular female voice.  Apple has not confirmed that, nor is it likely to, but based on empirical data from the web the reports are that if the voice is changed off the preset in the US the location and driving directions features will not work. Apple does report that location based Siri services will be available some time in 2012. It is something of a mystery as to why the feature is tied to a particular voice. Since the location based services only work in the US at present someone at Apple thought it would be easier to tie the feature set to the US default.  Another question that some have asked is why Siri was released while still in beta. First, other than the general spec upgrade, the Siri feature is about the only thing that distinguishes the iPhone 4S from the iPhone 4. Absent Siri and what it promises, a lot of upgraders would have probably held out for the iPhone 5. The second reason is that Siri is...

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iOS5 install problems-Its Apple’s Fault

The iOS 5 update went live about 1:00 PM -5 GMT.  Users are reporting all over the world that they are having multiple issues with the download and Apple has confirmed that the problem is on their end.  Making matters worse, there are reports that aborting the update is duplicating the contacts list and one user who had set up mail in Mac preferences is getting this message: The word from Apple is to wait a couple of hours and try again. For those of you with mail issues the link to Apple message boards can be found here.   The smart money is on the iCloud servers being overwhelmed. That said, the Apple iCloud engineers are going to have their work cut out getting ready to activate about three million iPhones in a couple of days not to mention the iCloud music roll out at the end of the month. Might be some iTerminations come the first of November, but we hope not.   Thanks to crimonsonsky76 for the tip! Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)MoreClick to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click...

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“Its dead Steve”

Lost in the meda frenzy over the passing of Steve Jobs was Microsoft killing off the Zune HD. No, that was a mistake its alive. Yes, it is dead. Nope, that was another error. Apparently, at least as of this writing, the Zune HD is in fact discontinued. “We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players.” Bear in mind that this is found on the Microsoft’s Zune support page. You can find a big  BUY NOW button at the entry for the Zune HD. Following that link takes one to the American retailer Wal-Mart. The Zune UK web site has nothing on offer, nor does Amazon. Further complicating matters is that whoever runs the Twitter account for Zune support seems to have missed the memo as well. The story here is not so much that the Zune HD has been discontinued, its not surprising as sales have been lackluster at best and Microsoft wants to steer users to Windows Phones as their all in one media consumption device, but that the announcement was so badly handled. It is quite obvious that the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing here. The timing was also interesting in that the original announcement was made the same day that Apple announced...

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