Monthly Archives: December 2010

Skype Video Calling From iPhone Out Now– First Look

skype iphone video chat pic 2

Skype video calling– now from your iPhone and iTouch (Pic from Skype)

We’re not gonna lie, we thought it wouldn’t come till at least next week at CES– but, hey, who are we to complain when something awesome happens early! Yes, you read that headline right– Skype video calling from the iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS (though obviously here only using the back camera) is now live— with video calling over WiFi and 3G!

As we wrote last week, you can also grab the update for your camera-less iPad or 3rd gen iPod Touch (running iOS 4.0 or later) and still be able to do one-way video chats with friends using Skype on their phone, PC or Mac– so don’t feel too bad iPad and 3rd gen iTouch owners.

Anyways, back to the app. In our brief hands-on with the updated app we found it worked really well. Video quality over 3G and WiFi from our iPhone 4 to our PC was very good— not perfect but very, very good (particularly for a phone), with sound coming in fine as well. There didn’t even seem to be too much of a lag between what we were doing and what was showing up on our PC, and you can even share a screen from a PC/Mac to the iPhone. One downside we noticed so far: multitasking while video chatting. If you leave the video chat while it’s going on– say, to look something up on Safari or respond to a text– the video on your end freezes to how you were when you tapped that Home button. The conversation still goes on through audio like it would on any call so you’re not dropping the connection– and the video quickly picked up when we came back to the app– but this could still be a little annoying for some. Oh, and constant use of this will also probably kill your battery life really quickly.

All in all, Skype is finally what we all were hoping for once Apple released the iPhone 4 and 4th gen iPod Touch– offering true video chat on the go while raising the bar for Apple if they want Facetime to ever be successful. Let’s just hope Skype next week spreads the mobile video chat love to Android and other mobile OSes.

The new Skype app for iOS is available now for free in the App Store— and make sure to let us know what you think of the new app in the comments.

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In Case You Needed Another Reason Not to Text and Drive

Watch this. I know it’s long and at times really hard to watch emotionally (this is a documentary– with real people and real stories), but what AT&T has done here is something that all of us new teen drivers need to listen to. As I’m sure you’ve also heard from your parents ever since you got your permit/license, there’s really no excuse for texting and driving (let alone talking on the phone and driving). As the video says, no matter how important you think that text is– it really isn’t worth the damage it could cause.

Trust me, just watch the video. And please, for everyone’s sake– from now on when you get behind the wheel, put the phone away and focus on the road. It really never is worth it.

Skype Video Calling Finally Coming to the iPhone Next Year? Is it because of Verizon?

This has been one of the biggest things anyone with an iPhone 4 or 4th gen iPod Touch have been waiting for– the ability to make video calls from your iDevice to anyone, anywhere on Skype. Today, Engadget got hold of a “Help” document from the Skype site detailing this long-awaited feature, which if we had to guess, we’d probably here a lot more of in the coming weeks at the big CES show in Vegas in 2 weeks.

Now what can we expect in this new app? Well, looking through the now pulled doc.\, we came across this awesome little bit of info:

The quality of the video you send and receive from your iPhone will depend upon the quality and bandwidth available on the WiFi or 3G network you are connected to (emphasis ours).

Yes, this is 3G video calling– something Apple’s own Facetime can’t yet do (though Apple did say it was coming in 2011). There also is mention of video chat working on the iDevices that lack front cameras like the iPad, iPhone 3GS (which will use the rear camera) and older 3rd generation iPod Touch as long as they have iOS 4.0 or later– meaning you can even have one way video chats on your older iDevice (which is also quite awesome that they’re spreading the video chat love). 

And just one other little rumor to throw out there– could Skype for iPhone video calling have anything to do with Skype and Verizon’s big agreement and a Verizon iPhone being finally on the way? Looking through this doc, I did come across some interesting lines of text–

wapl_referenceKey=SKYPE_FOR_IPHONE&wapl_referenceKeyDesc=Skype Mobile For Verizon

which weren’t on the normal source version of the current Skype page for the iPhone.

Let’s hope all of this is answered soon, but in the meantime check out the doc for yourself here (note: the page is in text as Skype pulled the full-page after it all got leaked. When you web browser asks you what to open the .php file in choose Internet Explorer or other web browser).

Net Neutrality or Net Tyranny?

 

This is a possible nightmarish outcome from Net Neutrality

Today, the FCC will vote on Net Neutrality, a law that on paper promises equality between consumer and provider, but in reality poses many disturbing results. Proposed by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, Net Neutrality hopes to create an even ground for all Internet users. However, the law is written in a way that it is up for interpretation, and that in the future, could be misinterpreted and misused for big companies to use to their unfair advantage.

Let’s start with what Net Neutrality is. Net Neutrality wants to create an even playing field for the regular people, us, and big companies. However, what the creators of Net Neutrality want is not what they shall get. The FCC, by passing this law, is giving the power of the Internet to big companies that can pay for more data, while small companies that can’t pony up the same cash will be tossed to the wayside

Why this matters to you

Imagine an Internet where you can get movies downloaded in minutes and songs in a second. This is going to be feasible and plausible but only to the big companies, that have partnerships with the Internet provider. By doing this, the FCC is putting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs at a disadvantage and soon it will be harder and harder to get your business off the ground because they will be able to get their information much faster than you ever could.

An even worse part of Net Neutrality is the watered down restrictions of wireless companies and their customers. While AT&T and Verizon still can’t control what websites you access, they will be able to control what applications you use.

Why this matters to you

With these watered down restrictions, AT&T and Verizon could control your favorite third-party apps and make you use their own paid service. For example, say you use google maps which is a great free app, Verizon could shut down google maps and make you use their own GPS app, VZ Navigator, which is a paid app and maybe worse than the free app. Also, the ambiguity of Net Neutrality could potentially allow AT&T and Verizon– in an extreme case– to cut your Facebook app off from the Internet if you say something that they don’t agree with. This loopholes Free Speech as they are only taking away your Facebook app which doesn’t serve the sole purpose of status updates. Also, they would back it up with a viable reason that doesn’t include what you said, but instead would attribute the Facebook shutdown to a bug in the app.

Not only that, but providers will be able to make certain websites paid services, by lowering the price of the Internet, and toting that you can save money

Why this matters to you

Imagine the way the Internet is one now as an amusement park. you pay a modest amount for admission and once you’re in you can go on as many rides as you want. Under Net Neutrality, the Internet would be more like a carnival, you pay a lower admission and then you pay per ride. Imagine YouTube or Google as a paid per month service. That is the Internet under the vague rules of Net Neutrality.

Have your voice heard, call your local congressman or, better yet, call the FCC and let them know how you feel about an industrialized, restricted Internet.

FCC number – 1-888-CALL FCC
Chairman Julius Genachowski email – julius.Genachowski@FCC.gov

FCC address for snail mail

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

The Teen Review: Seagate FreeAgent Go and DockStar

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The DockStar– A little guy with a whole lot of punch

Ever be in school or at a friend’s house and go “oh I have that picture/assignment on my computer” only to sadly realize that your computer is at home? Ever been on the bus with your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android phone and want to quickly look over that paper, listen to a song or watch a video that’s stored back home on your computer? Well, Seagate is here for you with their DockStar adapter for their FreeAgent Go portable hard drive line. We’ve had a chance to play with it, but does it live up to those high expectations of making your content truly available anywhere? Read on for our full review of both the FreeAgent Go and the DockStar!

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Samsung and Google Unveil the Nexus S– The Next Generation of Android

nexus s

The second Google Phone is here– meet the Nexus S

It’s been rumored for awhile and now it’s finally here– the true next generation of the Nexus One and Android as a whole. Coming to T-Mobile December 16th, the Nexus S packs a whole bunch of new improvements over its predecessor, but is it enough to make you want to get this over a T-Mobile G2 or myTouch 4G this holiday season? Read on for all the info you need to know.

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More Info on the PlayStation Phone Leaks Out– Including a Quick Look at the PlayStation App

playstation phone rumor pic 2

Remember that PlayStation Phone from a couple of weeks back? Well, now there are a few new videos leaking out online– and this new PS Phone looks even better than before. What’s new about this long-awaited phone that we didn’t know before? For one, there now looks to be conformation that the PS Phone will be running the latest and greatest version of Android when it comes out— version 2.3 or Gingerbread (which is said to be coming before the end of the year with a whole bunch of improvements to make Android even better), have at least a 5 megapixel camera with flash (this from photos taken with the phone that also appeared over the weekend), and as we mentioned above– pack that PlayStation app.

playstation phone playstation app

The PlayStation App on the PlayStation phone– look familiar?

Now the PlayStation app was only very briefly demoed, so briefly that you can only see the basics of what the app will look like. From what we can tell though, it looks like it will be very similar to what we’ve seen on the PSP for all these years (heck, the app looks like the current PSP homescreen). Let’s just hope the game graphics and gameplay are also on this level.

We’re still in the dark on price, release date, carrier, confirmed specs etc.– but things sure look to be almost done here so let’s hope Sony makes this all official real soon.

Hit the jump for two of the videos showing off the PlayStation Phone and let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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