Microsoft Office coming for iOS and Android

November 8, 2012 by  
Filed under News

While Microsoft has never confirmed the on and off circulating rumours, website The Verge is reporting that Redmond plans to release Office versions for the iPhone, iPad and Android in early 2013.

The website cites sources close to Microsoft and reveals more details – Office Mobile will be offered as free apps that will allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on mobile devices. Users will need a Microsoft account and this will provide basic viewing functionality. Further editing features can be unlocked by purchasing a subscription to Office 365. However, overall  Office Mobile apps will only offer a small degree of editing functionality and will not be seen as full replacements for stand-alone desktop versions of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft has not officially confirmed or denied the report.

Obama’s victory tweet is most retweeted ever

November 7, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Along with the US Presidential elections, Barrack Obama has also taken the accolade for the most retweeted tweet ever in the history of Twitter.

In just 22 minutes, President Obama’s simple victory tweet, “Four more years.” overtook a Justin Bieber tweet as the most retweeted of all-time. Bieber’s tweet was retweeted more than 200,000 times.

It certainly helped that the President’s tweet was accompanied by a heartwarming photograph of Obama hugging his wife.

As of writing this, the Twitter retweet counter stands at 423,743 and is rapidly escalating.

Congratulations to President Obama on winning his second term and the internet.

This writer will now go and cool off the overheated ‘T’ and ‘e’ keys on her keyboard.

The first iPad mini TV ad is out

November 4, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Apple has started running a new television ad for the recently released iPad mini. The ad is being aired after it was first shown off at the company’s media event that introduced the device.

The new ad is titled “Piano” and features a full-sized iPad and an iPad mini both running GarageBand. The two devices are used to play the popular piano duet-friendly song “Heart and Soul.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM9U70HgLsQ&w=550&h=309]

With no voice over track, the ad is simple and clever. And I didn’t spot any choreographed dancing which is refreshing.

You might also want to check out talk show host Conan O’Brien’s take on the iPad mini commercial here. Apple fanboys, try to contain your ire.

Oprah loves the Surface

November 2, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Tablets

Oprah Winfrey loves Microsoft’s Surface Tablet and is not afraid to shower superlative praise on it. The device has been declared as one of her “Favorite Things” of 2012.

In the December issue of O, Oprah’s magazine, the media tycoon and former talk show host says, “”The Surface, Microsoft’s first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people!”

She goes on to praise the “full-size keyboard built right into the cover “and the “very smart kickstand”. Oprah is also really impressed by the weight of the Surface or rather the lack of it which makes it “a great alternative to a laptop.”

I am not sure Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement counts as much as it used to when she was on television everyday (would she be giving out Surfaces to the audience if she was on today? Probably). But the list is out in advance of the holiday shopping season and she still has millions of fans. Redmond isn’t complaining.

Souq.com receives financial boost

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Souq.com has announced a new round of investment from South African multinational media and internet group Naspers Limited, revealed Wamda.

Rumours suggest the investment to be around $40 million, though no official disclosure has been made. But if that figure is accurate, the deal would be the second largest investment made in an ecommerce venture in the Middle East since the 2009 sale of Maktoob.com for $165 million. It certainly would be higher than the recent investment of $20 million in rival Namshi.com.

Naspers Limited, also currently invested in Dubai’s own Dubizzle, will take a minority stake and join existing investors Tiger Global and Jabbar Internet Group.

The new financial support will help expand Souq.com’s logistics centers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It will also support regional growth of other Souq.com companies like Sukar and Run2Sport. Souq Fashion, Souq.com’s newest product line will also receive a boost.

Tiny tablet wars – Amazon takes on Apple

October 29, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Tablets

The iPad Mini was launched only a few days ago but its rivals are already on war footing. Amazon is advertising its Kindle Fire HD tablet right on the company’s homepage and is doing this by comparing it to the new iPad Mini.

The advertisement’s spec by spec comparison obviously puts Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD in the lead. Criteria for comparison includes screen quality, pixels per inch, ability to watch HD fare, speaker quality and, of course, price. To make things more interesting, Amazon uses this quote from a recent iPad Mini review from the tech website Gizmodo - …your [Apple's] 7.9-inch tablet has far fewer pixels than the competing 7-inch tablets! You’re cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy.”

Still, I doubt Apple is quaking in its boots. iPad Mini pre-orders, with its higher price, sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Surface pricing announced

October 17, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Tablets

After much mystery, Microsoft has announced the cost of their upcoming Surface tablet in the US.

The least expensive version of the Surface will be priced at $499 for 32GB storage and matches the entry-level price of the latest iPad but has twice the memory. However, this basic model doesn’t come with a cover that doubles as a keyboard called the Touch cover – a feature much focused on in Microsoft’s marketing of the device.

Also on offer is a $599 model that comes with a black version of the Touch cover (also 32GB), and a $699 model that has greater data storage capacity of 64GB also with a black Touch Cover. Standalone Touch Covers in black, white, magenta, cyan, and red will retail for $119.99.

Device specs have been published too. The Surface has a 1366×768 10.6-inch screen with five-point multi-touch, it’s 0.37 inches (9.4mm) thick, and it weighs 1.5 pounds (0.68kg). The processor is an NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, which is a quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex A9 part coupled with a 520MHz NVIDIA GPU, and it has 2GB RAM, and either 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash storage. Surface also has two 720p cameras (front and rear), two microphones, an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a compass. Connectivity is provided with 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4, a microSDXC slot, mini-HDMI, and a USB 2.0 port.

The device will run Windows RT and include previews of four Office 2013 apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. These previews will be updated to final versions from November onwards.

Sadly, the Surface will only be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States initially and not in our part of the world. And while the cheapest Surface works out to be around AED 1800, you can expect insanely inflated prices for it here in the grey market. But maybe Groupon will offer it on one of their mystery deals. They are sure to have at least 4 guaranteed buyers.

Apple confirms Oct 23 media event

October 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Apple, News

As earlier reported here, Apple has now confirmed an Oct 23 media event. And while it hasn’t officially mentioned the iPad mini, not even in the colorful invite sent to selected members of the press, the event will most likely be used to reveal the new device.

All the invite does say is a mysterious, “We’ve got a little more to show you.” The smaller 7.85-inch version of the iPad has long been rumoured and if introduced at this event would come just in time for the holidays. In addition, website 9to5Mac is also reporting that Apple plans to introduce an updated Mac mini at the same event as well.

The event will take place at 10am Pacific Time at the California Theater in San Jose, CA. and you can be sure that many well known technology websites will be live blogging to give us all  the juicy details as they are made public.

Microsoft Surface debuts first TV ad

October 16, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Tablets

In anticipation of its upcoming launch, Microsoft has released its first TV ad for the Surface on national television in the US.

The TV spot is titled ‘Movement’ and suggests that the device is heralding one in – one with lots of coordinated dancing. The commercial features the click sound generated from the kickstand on the device and the magnetic keyboard, a romantic older couple, crazily limber dancers and disconcerting gangsta school girls. This writer feels it’s all a bit bizarre but since she likes robotic dancing, will go with it. Watch the video below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mSckyoAMHg&w=550&h=309]

No hardware or pricing information has been revealed in the ad but it does confirm that the Surface will be with us on Oct 26.

Apple will reportedly unveil iPad Mini on Oct 23

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Apple, News, Tablets

Apple will unveil the iPad Mini on Oct 23 reports AllThingsD, citing sources familiar with the company. Speculation about the new device has been rife over the last few months with rumours about Apple developing a smaller, less expensive iPad to take on cheaper competing devices steadily gaining momentum. The iPad Mini is expected to have a 7.85-inch screen and come with Apple’s new Lightning connector. It will also likely be substantially cheaper than the new iPad as it hopes to go toe to toe with Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

According to the report, Apple is scheduling an invite-only press event on Oct 23 and will use the occasion to make the new device public for the first time. As it happens, Oct 23 is just three days before Microsoft unveils Windows 8 and its own Surface tablet.

Apple has not confirmed the report.

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