Essential guide to care your laptop battery, laptop adapter, power tools battery

How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

android wp7 150x150 How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7Inspired by today’s news about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7‘s latest release, “Mango,” but can’t let go of your beloved Android device? Now you can at least simulate the experience of using Windows Phone thanks to a new Android app, over half a year in development, which brings a Windows Phone-like launcher to Android users.

The new app called WP7 Launcher Lite began as a project featured in – where else? – the XDA Developer forums. Created by forum member TheRedDrake, the goal was to produce something that would provide “the freedom of Android and the grace and elegance of Windows Phone 7.” Now a Lite (free) version of that application is available on the Android Market for you to try. And there are other plenty of other apps that bring you a similar experience, too. We’ve listed a few of these below.

Now Available: WP7 Launcher

wp7android How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

The free version of WP7 Launcher, which was just released to the Android Market, allows you to get a taste of the Windows Phone user interface, so you can decide if you want to dive in and pay for the full experience. It also lets you to test the app in advance to make sure it works on your particular Android handset.

This Lite edition has several limitations, including a maximum of 6 Tiles which can be pinned to the homescreen, no ability to change Tile themes or customize fonts, only one “Live Folder” limited to just 3 Tiles,  no integration between the Launcher and the Contacts app (a separate app from the developer called “WP7 Contacts”) and more.

The full version is just 3 Euros ($4.23 US) and is available only from the developer’s website. To get it, you’ll have to adjust the setting on your smartphone that allows you to install off-Market applications if you want to purchase the paid version.

Early reviews of the app on the Market aren’t as favorable as those on the XDA forums site, it should be noted. That’s probably because this app is still in development, and may be buggy. As always, when it comes to Android apps, your mileage may vary, depending on your device. This isn’t a blanket recommendation for the app and we won’t be held accountable if it just crashes and burns on you. (It didn’t for us, though.)

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A Great Alternative: Launcher7

However, there’s an alternative to this new app, if you do run into trouble: Launcher7, which some claim is better. The app is available in both free and donate versions. The free version is ad-supported, but it lets you modify your Start screen by dragging the tiles around.

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It is also a work in progress, with several more features still planned, including Facebook integration and more animated tiles, among other things.

 How to Make Your Android Phone Look Like Windows Phone 7

A Windows Phone-Style Music Player

While you’re at it, there’s yet another app that can help you complete your Android to Windows Phone transformation: a Windows Phone 7 style music app, available in alpha, from Federico Carnales, the creator of the popular Android app, Launcher Pro. He tweeted the download link just the other day for those brave enough to try it.

batteries-company.com tested it for you, and recorded video of that here.

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How To Fix Your iPad Won’t Sync Issues

Ever had an issue syncing your iPad? Sure we all have a a time when it won’t sync or it does sync and nothing really happens.  Once again we dug around in the pits of the forums to bring you some practical advice for fixing those pesky iPad sync issues.

Fixing iPad Sync Issues

If you ever experience an issue where your iPad syncs but nothing happens or it syncs and there are errors then this article is for you.  There have been a lot of reported sync errors with the release of iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10 and so here are some things you should look for and ways to fix your sync issues.

  • If your iPad won’t sync, make sure you are using the exact USB cable that shipped with it.  It has a square top and not a rounded one like the one that comes with an iPhone (usb side).  This has helped several users out that were experiencing sync issues.
  • If you are having issues syncing, go to software update and see if there are any updates you may not know about.  Even if it only updates Safari or something for the iPhone, it may be important.  Several users reported that once they did this, their sync issues cleared right up.
  • Remove iTunes, QuickTime and “Mobile Devices”  from your Mac or PC and then download a fresh copy and install it.  This has also been reported to solve sync issues when nothing else will.
  • Restore your iPad as a last resort.  If you have already tried the steps above and nothing seems to be working, then restoring the iPad will take care of the issue but be aware it will erase all your data.  Here is how to restore your iPad.

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These tips should help you get your iPad syncing again.  If you find something else besides this that works, then please share it in the comments for others to try.

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8

The best iPhone 4 battery cases

Need more battery life for your iPhone 4? We’ve reviewed three of the top cases to find which is best.

The iPhone 4 is better than its 3G and 3GS siblings in terms of battery life, but it’s still nowhere near enough for a traveller.

The standard battery lasts about eight hours, which is just enough for the phone to last until the nightly commute home on a normal work day, but when travelling (or even if you forget to charge the phone overnight) that limited battery life is annoying.

We’ve taken a look at three of the latest iPhone battery cases available to discover their pros and cons.

All the cases share some attributes in common: they all charge via a micro USB connector so you won’t be using your iPhone dock cable any more. All the cases come with a micro-USB cord that you can plug into your existing iPhone wall charger. The case and the iPhone battery charge at the same time using the single micro-USB connector.

They all have a dock connector inside the case for your iPhone to plug into, and of course, this connects to the Dell vostro 1510 battery inside the case to keep your smart phone full of juice.

Mophie Juice Pack Air 4

It provides good protection for all sides of the iPhone, with the back fully covered and a protective ridge standing above the edges of the front screen so that if you drop it flat on a pavement the screen won’t make contact.

It has holes in the case to allow direct access to the iPhone’s metal buttons, which makes adjustments easy. The Energizer case, in comparison, makes you press through the silicon case, which requires more effort.

One annoying thing about the Juice Pack Air is that its bright, flashing charging status lights and micro USB charging connector are both at the bottom of the case, so no matter which way you lie it down, your bedroom will be turned into a disco overnight.

There’s a charging on/off switch on the case, which is there to help preserve the life of the battery in the case. Mophie suggests you only switch it to charge when your iPhone is actually low on juice, as the battery case can only be recharged 500 times before its battery will start to fail (and of course, the more often you empty the battery into your iPhone, the more frequently you’ll have to charge the case).

The capacity of the Mobile battery is 1500mAh, which gives a little more than twice the battery life of the iPhone 4′s internal battery, which is rated at 1420mAh.

The Juice Pack Air sells for between $75-$100 at the time of writing.

Padacs PowerCase for iPhone 4

It has holes in the side of the case to allow direct access to the iPhone’s buttons.

The styling of the case is somewhat BlackBerry Torch-esque — gloss black on all sides, with sculpted edges that disguise the heft of the battery. As a result, even the 2200mAh case looks pretty good despite its true bulk.

The fact that the case is sculpted and shiny also makes it the easiest of the three cases to slip in and out of your pocket.

The blue charging indicators are on the back of the case, but unfortunately also on a sculpted part of the case, so even if you lie it flat, it will illuminate your bedroom with a bright, rapidly flashing blue light overnight.

One quibble we had with the case is that by default it does not charge your iPhone — you have to hold down a button on the back of the case for it to start charging. Presumably it has been designed like this so you don’t use the case’s battery unnecessarily for the same reason Mophie puts a switch on its case (see above), but it still feels like the decision has been taken out of your hands a bit.

The other minor downside of the PADACS cases is that the case rim sits flush with the iPhone 4 glass screen, providing very minimal protection for the screen if your drop it hard on its face on an uneven surface like bitumen.

You can buy the PowerCases for $49.95 or $59.95 (depending on capacity) directly from PADACS’ website.

Energizer AP1201 iPhone 4 battery case
iphone 4 battery case 227x300 The best iPhone 4 battery cases

The charging indicator for this case is on the back — a series of small, deep blue lights. As a result, if you leave the case on its back overnight, the charging light won’t keep you awake. You can get a read on remaining NOKIA 3310 Mobile Phone Battery life by pressing a small button on one of the corners of the case.

One problem with the Energizer case is that it mostly encloses the phone, so if you want to use the volume buttons on the side or the lock button at the top of the phone, you have to squish them through the silicone, which requires considerably more effort than just pressing the buttons directly. The silent on/off switch is still exposed through a hole, though.

The case also picks up a lot of dust and fluff due to its silicone construction.

Unlike the Padacs or Mophie cases, the Energizer case constantly charges the iPhone — there is no option to turn off its charging to keep the case battery in the best possible condition.

Verdict: the best battery case for iPhone 4

In our testing of these three cases, the clear winner is the PADACS PowerCase. It provides greater HP 484784-001 battery life than any of the other cases, has a shape and texture that makes it super-easy to slip in and out of your pocket, and manages to disguise the bulk of the battery with clever industrial design.

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Best high-end notebooks with backlit keyboards

The backlit keyboard has made a lot of ground in the past few years, although, much to our chagrin, it still isn’t ubiquitous.

It used to be that only the high-end laptops had one, but these days, you can get a AU$1000 Sony that packs in the handy feature as well.

If a backlit keyboard is at the top of your features wish list, below are the best laptops we’ve reviewed that just happen to have one.

Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2012)

There are some small concerns, but the new Samsung Series 9 is an absolute pleasure to use.

The Good

  • Gorgeous 1600×900 PLS screen, Very slim and light, Good keyboard and touchpad

The Bad

  • Only one USB 3.0 port,  AC Adapters not included for micro video ports, Backlit keyboard needs to be brighter, Battery life could be improved, Touchpad driver takes ages to load on first boot, meaning some functions aren’t available for at least 30 seconds
apple macbook pro retina 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display

It’s not cheap, and it’ll take some time for the software world to catch up, but great battery life, good sound, impeccable build and a screen that’ll blow you away means that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has set a new standard for the rest to follow.

The Good

  • The sensational screen, Comparatively thin form factor enables portability despite high level specs, Fast SSD. Large SSD options if you happen to own a bank, HDMI and twin Thunderbolt ports gives plenty of display options, Great HP pavilion dv4 battery life

The Bad

  • Only two USB ports, Top left near the monitor gets quite hot during gaming, BootCamp needs work, The wait for everything to be Retina compatible
asus zenbook prime ux31a 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards
Asus ZenBook Prime UX31A

The ZenBook Prime UX31A is everything the ZenBook UX31E should have been, and more. We have no hesitation in recommending this laptop if you truly want no-compromise performance in an ultrabook.

The Good

  • Lovely Full HD, IPS screen, Backlit keyboard, Great performance,

The Bad

  • Some light bleed from the bottom of the screen, Included USB to Ethernet adapter is USB 2.0 only, Battery life could be improved

Sony Vaio E Series (SVE14A15FGB)

Sony’s managed to produce a laptop under AU$1000 that not only doesn’t sacrifice on quality, but manages to trickle down some premium features, like a backlit keyboard. Within its means, this is one of the best budget laptops you can get.

The Good

  • Higher resolution screen than usual, Good battery life, Backlit keyboard, Good specs for the price

The Bad

  • GPU underperforming in Skyrim and Witcher 2, Screen isn’t as vibrant as it could be

Apple MacBook Air 13 (mid-2012)

The new 13-inch MacBook Air might not be the huge revision we were hoping for, but it’s still an excellent laptop, borne out of years of refinement.

The Good

  • Great build quality, USB 3.0 makes for a good boost, Industry leading touchpad, Backlit keyboard, Dual-band Wi-Fi

The Bad

  • Base model storage a bit small for the current day

Apple MacBook Air 11 (mid-2012)

The MacBook Air 11 continues to be a wonderfully portable laptop, suiting travel or those who are constantly on the move. While an IPS screen would be nice and the default storage sizes need to be raised, this is a lovely piece of engineering that has well and truly carved its niche.

The Good

  • Incredibly light, yet well built, Class leading keyboard and touchpad

The Bad

  • The TN-based screen is getting a bit long in the tooth, Default storage size is too small
hp pavilion dm4 beats 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards

HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition

HP’s Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition manages to bring good performance and battery life into the sub-AU$1000 range. The main sacrifice is the vibrancy of the screen, but at this price, it’s a small nitpick and nothing more.

The Good

  • Good performance and Hp laptop batteries life, Decent sound for the size and price range, Backlit keyboard

The Bad

  • Discrete graphics almost aren’t worth it, Screen could be more vibrant
lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon 1 Best high end notebooks with backlit keyboards

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo’s succeeded in delivering a sexy ultrabook that still retains the traditional ThinkPad design cues. The battery life isn’t as good as it could be though, and the SSD upgrade prices are simply ludicrous.

The Good

  • 1600×900 screen has better than usual viewing angles for TN, Screen can flip flat, Incredibly well built, light and tough, Inbuilt 3G, Great backlit keyboard

The Bad

  • Ludicrous SSD upgrade prices, Only one USB 3.0 port, Faint vertical lines visible on display
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Dell updates Vostro laptop for better laptop battery life

Dell has launched the V131, a new ultraportable laptop in its small-business Vostro line that the company says improves on the poor laptop battery life of its predecessor, the Vostro V130.

dell vostro laptop battery Dell updates Vostro laptop for better laptop battery life

Dell has launched the V131, a new ultraportable laptop in its small-business Vostro line.

The Vostro V131, unveiled on Thursday, lets customers replace laptop batteries themselves and also offers lengthier battery life. The V130′s six-cell laptop battery lasted just over two hours with continuous video playback, but Dell said in a battery blog post that the V131 could manage almost 10 hours on a single charge.

“Overall battery life is much improved compared to the V130, thanks in no small part to Intel’s second-generation Core technology, which you may know as Sandy Bridge,” Dell blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote.

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The V131 has three Intel processor options, including the ultra-low voltage Celeron 847 and the standard-voltage Core i3-2310M and Core i5-2410M. Customers can select four-cell or six-cell batteries.

Other features include an HD webcam with dual-array microphones, SRS Premium Voice Pro audio software, a fingerprint reader and a fall sensor for the hard drive. Although US customers can only choose configurations with hard drives, SSD options are available in some countries, including the Austrlia and UK.

The Dell Vostro V131 is on sale at a starting price of £359 excluding VAT and shipping, although its price can go much higher depending on the configuration.

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Top 10 Blogs to Simplify Your Life

laptop battery simplify Top 10 Blogs to Simplify Your LifeIf you’ve got too much stuff, too little time, too much e-mail, not enough focus or all of these, the following blogs can help; they’re packed with examples of how to unclutter and streamline your life, and usually feature stories about others who have done the same.

Marc and Angel Hack Life

This couple focus on simplifying, happiness, life lessons, avoiding TV, and making better use of other electronic devices. Asks and answers the question, Does your schedule leave you time for the things that bring you true happiness?

Thesimplerlife.net

Low-key advice about simplification by an author who’s trying to both simplify and improve as a writer. Covers improving self-discipline, figuring out what’s important, and supporting your passions.

Zen Habits

Leo Babauta’s blog about life simplification and cutting out the clutter is probably the leader in the life-simplification category. Clearly organized and with thoughtful links to related articles and lists.

Simple Productivity Blog

This software consultant put down her PDA and now dispenses daily tips on how to simplify. Theme days range from simplicity Wednesdays and tip Fridays to open-loop Tuesdays (covering other items she finds on the Web). Also covers clutter, efficiency, personal development and simplification.

Organized Mom

Mom helps you declutter your house, one room at a time. Focuses on taking back the family room, kitchen, pantry and bathroom from all your stuff, plus meal planning, multitasking and avoiding procrastination.

Life Optimizer

Personal growth through focus, minimalism, working smarter, and a hint of Zen philosophy. Topics include crisis-proofing your career, how to enjoy the present, finding happiness and staying out of the trap of loving stuff.

Goodlife Zen

Mary Jaksch writes about calming yourself and simplifying your life, touching on other topics such as personal resilience, combating depression and establishing positive new habits.

Unclutterer

A blog specifically about using less stuff to accomplish more. Articles cover teaching kids to physical clutter, reducing your own inbox clutter, and getting better organized so that junk in general doesn’t build up in your life.

Minima

Quotes, aphorisms and images about minimalism in computing, life and design. Constantly reloading UI keeps you from scrolling to the end of this blog, which is not terribly simple–but it also means a steady stream of food for thought about simplifying your online and off-line lives.

Tools for Thought: Thinking Beyond Productivity

A getting-things-done centered blog that focuses more formally on how attention, organization, prioritization and other aspects of how you use your time (and brain) work

Goodlife Zen

Mary Jaksch writes about calming yourself and simplifying your life, touching on other topics such as personal resilience, combating depression and establishing positive new habits.

Unclutterer

A blog specifically about using less stuff to accomplish more. Articles cover teaching kids to physical clutter, reducing your own inbox clutter, and getting better organized so that junk in general doesn’t build up in your life.

Minima

Quotes, aphorisms and images about minimalism in computing, life and design. Constantly reloading UI keeps you from scrolling to the end of this blog, which is not terribly simple–but it also means a steady stream of food for thought about simplifying your online and off-line lives.

Tools for Thought: Thinking Beyond Productivity

A getting-things-done centered blog that focuses more formally on how attention, organization, prioritization and other aspects of how you use your time (and brain) work.

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Top 10 Blogs For Learning Something New

The kids have gone back to school–now keep your own brain sharp with these fun blogs, which are packed with fun facts, weird tidbits, and other stuff you probably didn’t know already. Posts range from serious to silly, but you’ll definitely pick up some great cocktail party fodder here.

Learn Something Every Day

Just a fact each day, illustrated…did you know Coca Cola kills insects?

Atlas Obscura

Not the typical armchair (desktop) tourist? If you’re looking for “miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, phallological museums, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper,” you’ll find them catalogued at this collaborative digital atlas, which you can explore by region or category.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

This blog reads scientific studies so that you don’t have to–and then condenses them into intriguing posts like “What does English sound like to foreigners?

Mind Hacks

Mind Hacks explains the weird stuff that goes on inside your head. Don’t be alarmed, but…Twilight novels may be altering your brain.

Know Your Meme

Visit this site regularly and you’ll always know what the people in your office are talking about the next time they refer to, say, Sad Keanu–or more obscure stuff. Readers can submit their own memes and images, too.

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  • Learn Something New Every Day

    Fun facts, each one illustrated–learn how to use i.e. and e.g. correctly, or explore the history of human height.

    Sign up to learn something new each day by e-mail–or check the archives, where you’ll find out that, for instance, the longest one-word sentence in the English language is “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” (Really.)

    Information Is Beautiful

    This gorgeous blog by “data journalist and information designer” David McCandless shows how “designed information can help us understand the world, cut through BS and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath. Or, failing that, it can just look cool!”

    mental_floss blog

    You never know quite what to expect when you read this blog–posts cover everything from American Civil War reenactors in the UK to 10 strange pregnancy cravings. You can also test your oddball knowledge with daily quizzes.

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    Top 11 Way to Maximize your Gadget Battery Life

    Maximize Battery Power batteries company.com  300x187 Top 11 Way to Maximize your Gadget Battery LifeWith the heatwave that is hitting the country this month, electrical grids are pushed to the maximum. As such, brown outs are common. But when you have no electricity at all, how can you guarantee that your smart phone or tablet’s battery will go the distance? Here’s a few tips on how to squeeze every last minute out of your gadget’s battery.

    1. Get a backup

    Having a backup battery is often a great way to extend the life of your gadget. For some, like owners of the HTC Thunderbolt or Sprint Echo, having an extended laptop battery is a way of life just to get through the day. But backups, whether a dedicated battery that you install, or one that is built into a protective case, like the Mophie Juice Pack Air can be a godsend when you need extra time before hitting the plugs to recharge.

    2. Engage your autolock feature

    This has a two-fold benefit. First, it will put your phone’s display to sleep after a set time (mine’s a minute), and two, it can also be set with a password so that if someone steals your phone or you lose it, after ten tries, the phone erases all data.

    3. Adjust your display settings

    I like a bright screen and as such, I usually turn off the auto-brightness feature of my iPhone and adjust it myself. That way, I can determine how much I need at any given time. It also allowed me to turn it way down to save battery power during my recent power outage. Having the auto-brightness setting enabled can also help in that it uses the proximity sensor to determine the most efficient screen brightness during the day. Additionally, after using it, click the lock button to put it to sleep manually. This will save a we bit as the phone isn’t waiting for the autolock to engage.

    4. Turn on WiFi and 3G/4G Data

    If you’re going to be out all day, you really don’t need the phone’s WiFi radio searching for a signal. Doing so bleeds out Dell inspiron 1501 battery power. So why not turn it off until you really need it? And turning off 3G/4G data in favor of a slower EDGE just to get you through the time won’t hurt either.

    5. Avoid extreme temperatures with your phone

    Extreme cold or heat will drain your Dell latitude e4300 battery faster than a vampire during Spring Break in Miami. The ideal temperature of your gadget is 72℉, 22℃. So keep it out of direct sunlight in the summer, and in your pocket during the winter.

    6. Turn off your push feature

    Rather than have data pushed to your phone all day, set the phone to search for emails, status updates, and text messages at intervals. This will save power – and data cap space – as your phone isn’t always searching for data that isn’t there.

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    7. Turn off Bluetooth

    If you aren’t driving around and looking silly with a stubby headset sticking out of your hear, make sure your bluetooth capability is disabled.

    8. Put the display to sleep while on a call. If you’re using your earbuds to talk, the phone will stay on until the autolock engages. So why not just put it to sleep manually? Also, limit any additional multitasking while on the phone. If you’re talking the old fashioned way, the phone’s proximity sensor will dim the screen while you’ve got it against your ear. So you’re good to go there.

    9. Turn off additional apps completely

    Most apps get left on when you leave them, and deactivating them completely will prevent them from using CPU power while inactive. This also gives you the benefit of having a faster phone when you need it.

    10. Use your laptop to charge it

    When our power was out last night and the battery started to die, I remembered that my laptop battery was completely fresh. So I hooked up my phone and topped it off using the laptop’s power through USB. And it only used up about 25% topping off both my phone and the backup battery (of which I have two).

    11. Finally, limit the playtime

    In situations where you don’t know when you’ll be able to recharge your Acer as07b32 battery, it’s probably best to prioritize your use of your gadget for the most important things like making phone calls, etc. Watching YouTube Videos or playing Angry Birds nonstop will leave you in the dark after only a few hours. So remember what’s important. You can do without playtime for a day to make sure people can keep in touch.

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    Windows 8: The real post-PC era begins today

    windows 8 300x148 Windows 8: The real post PC era begins today

    On many occasions since the inception of the phrase, I have taken issue with the notion of “post-PC“. Maybe it’s because I’m a multi-monitor user with delusions of productivity, or maybe it’s because I’m stuck in the mindset that post-PC is a negative thing, or maybe I just have a predisposition against buzzwords that exist for no good reason. Whatever the reason, I don’t think that the current offerings from the tablet makers, regardless of platform, offered nearly enough to replace anybody’s PC, much less mine. During the Microsoft Build conference, we were given a detailed preview of the upcoming Windows 8 platform and all of the changes that were brought to light. At the Build conference, we were shown what I feel is a much more significant step toward the notion of “post-PC”.

    Unified User Interface

    windows8metrostart 580x362 Windows 8: The real post PC era begins today

    At the end of the day, post-PC has nothing to do with getting rid of the PC. It’s about creating a series of devices that can serve as a PC for the average consumer. Creating a user interface that can serve both the technical user and the consumer is a delicate balancing act. If you are too limiting to the technical user, it becomes useless. If you are too complicated for the general consumer, it becomes useless. Microsoft’s Metro  UI is the closest thing I have seen so far to balancing these two worlds. The User Interface for Metro is simple, and mildly akin to the Windows Phone 7 Live Tiles, but so much more. If you are not a fan of the new UI, the traditional desktop still exists, though much more in app form it seems. This combination enables a broader push towards touch screens as well as the more traditional mouse and keyboard interface.

    As important as the balance between the users is, it is doubly important that the same experience be carried across all of  the devices you use. The tablet, the PC, the smartphone, should all have UI’s that lend to each other without sacrificing functionality. At least with the PC and the Tablet, this is the goal that Windows 8 seems to have accomplished in part. The tablet experience feels identical to the PC experience, leaving little more then some UI adjustments due to screen size at the only apparent difference. This exists right down to the hardware, as the tablet developer kit was designed to support dual monitors with the dock that comes with the device.

    If Microsoft is able to translate this experience to the Smartphone somehow, they will have completed the design, allowing you to truly take your computer with you everywhere and finishing the notion that your tablet could replace your computer.

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    Superior hardware

    IMG 9264 windows 8 tablet hand 640x426 580x386 Windows 8: The real post PC era begins today

    A considerable downside to Windows in the past has been the low end of the hardware spectrum that is “supported” by the OS. (Violent flashbacks to “Vista Ready” PCs come to mind.) With Windows 8, the minimum system requirements are clearly a sign that the OS has shuffled off the dead weight and moved on to bigger and better things. For starters, no resolution smaller than 1024×768 is officially supported, although a demonstration was offered today that showed that 1024×600 was still functional in almost every way. More functionality is available if you are able to provide higher resolutions.

    The Samsung Developer Tablet for Windows 8 is a prime example of the level of hardware Microsoft expect their partners to be engaging their customers at. This little slab contained within an Inter Core i5 processor on an integrated motherboard with 4GB of RAM. To compare that, I wandered the halls of batteries-company.com for a moment just to see how this tablet stacked up against the PCs being sold. At first glance, it looked like this tablet held its own against most of the laptops in the $700 range. This gives me some concern as to the cost of a Windows 8 tablet, but considering the sliding price of hardware and the liklihood that we won’t see much in the way of tablets like this announced until CES, there’s a chance the price will be much less of an issue.

    The hardware for tablets wasn’t the only thing we saw today, as no less than three laptops were paraded in front of the audience that all looked like they would give the Macbook Air a run for its money in terms of just how simply wafer-thin they were. Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and Samsung all are clearly ready to help bring Windows 8 to the minds of consumers as the new sexy alternative to the PC or Mac they have been using.

    NFC, Accelerometers, and Peripherals

    Windows 8 also seems ready to dive into brand new technology, as well and significantly improve on the existing implementation of current battery technology. Added to the growing list of possibilities in the minds of developers today was the addition of near field communications (NFC) and accelerometer sensors within supported devices. NFC is implemented in a way that information can be shared form device to device, much in the way that Smartphones “bump” today. Accelerometers are a big part of Microsoft new API’s as well, with a tech demo today revealing an incredibly sensitive steering where that wobbled as the device was rotated quickly from side to side.

    Existing technology used by PC users around the world also saw a serious improvement in implementation. Microsoft seeks to do away entirely with separate menus and notification icons for devices. In the tech demos today, printer settings were integrated with the print function, with a separate app for more advanced settings. With Microsoft’s line of webcams, we were shown deep integration and incredible speed in accessing a cam for any purpose, and promised that API’s would be available to all for the same functionality. Mobile broadband devices were also discussed, banishing the current implementation of a separate radio notification for those kind of devices. Microsoft demonstrated an integrated and pleasing replacement to the nightmare that exists today with a simple page that shows what is currently connected to what.

    Closing thoughts

    While I do not subscribe to the notion of a post-PC world, I think this could be the closest thing yet to the phenomena. Nothing is set in stone yet, and anyone who has ever participated in a Microsoft beta program knows that features come and go faster than you can imagine, so who knows just how close to what we have seen today will exist when Windows 8 hits stores.

    In the meantime, though, you can check out the keynote yourself at Buildwindows.com.

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    Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    The Samsung Galaxy S2 has rightly gained plaudits as the best Android phone ever. And this has been backed up by batteries-company.com’s own official stats, which reveal that the top-end device has shifted a massive three million units in just 55 days.

    That smashes the original Galaxy S’s record of three million in 85 days and will doubtless give Apple plenty to think about in the run-up to the launch of the iPhone 5. As Android grows at a rapid rate, just how can Apple see off Samsung’s challenge? Here’s our Top 10 pointers for Jobs and co.

    1 Bigger screen

    iphone 5 concept 2 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    The iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch panel might be a Retina Display stunner, but it’s now far smaller than all its key Android competitors. Talk of a bigger screen has been rife for months and a four-incher would surely quell concerns that Apple’s device is failing to max out its media potential.

    2 Go dual-core

    a5 processor 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    A no brainer, surely. Evidence in earlier builds of iOS have shown Apple is going to load a dual-core processor into the iPhone 5 and it’s a must if it’s going to go toe-to-toe with the S2 and win.

    3 Thinner, sharper design

    The iPhone 4 is already a beautiful piece of kit. But standing still, as Cupertino did with iPhone 3GS, is not an option this time around. If Apple takes this route, the iPhone 5 will be positively hulking come the end of 2012. The updated iPhone needs to lose some pounds while retaining its resolutely unplasticky build.

    4 1080p video

    iphone hd 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    The Galaxy S2’s 1080p video shooting skills mark it out as the very best smartphone camcorder on the market. Apple’s video prowess and easy sharing is well known, but to ensure it stays at the top of its game full HD is a must.

    5 And on board 1080p video editing

    The Galaxy S2’s only (minor let down), is its on board video editing suite’s inability to cut down clips in 1080p. Apple can score a quick win here by ensuring its iMovie app can chop footage in the highest quality format.

    6 A quick release

    september 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    Apple is generally pretty good at releasing its kit within a matter of days (sometimes hours). If the iPhone 5 does materialise in September, it needs to be on shelves by the end of that month at the latest. A good run to Christmas will ensure it gazumps Sammy’s Android bestseller.

    7 Cheap deals

    cheap illustration 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    These aren’t likely to be very cheap by the standard of other handsets, of course. Even so, the sheer prevalence of the iPhone should mean that networks can offer great deals at knockdown prices, at least ahead of Christmas. Three’s entry-level £30 a month deal should set a marker for other carriers.

    8 iOS 5 must run perfectly

    ios 5 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    Obvious, but if there’s even a whiff of iOS 5 having issues when it lands on the new iPhone, the clamour for an Apple apology will be massive. Current builds are understandably buggy, but there can be no margin for error if the Galaxy S2, in line for an Android Ice Cream Sandwich update, is to be beaten.

    9 Beefed up camera

    Megapixels matter, at least in the mind of the public. To that end, the iPhone 5’s snapper needs to be bumped up to 8MP, with the lens and sensor improved to give better shots. Vital when it comes to iOS 5’s Twitter integration and a must to match Sammy’s phone.

    10 Don’t trash talk the S2

    samsung galaxy s2 520x300x24 fill Top 10 ways iPhone 5 can see off Samsung Galaxy S2

    Unlikely, as Apple and Samsung are locked in legal warfare and won’t want to prejudice proceedings. However, there’s no point in Steve Jobs slating the S2. He just needs the iPhone 5 to do the talking.

    Tags: upcoming mobile phones, Samsung, Android mobile phones, iPhone, Smart mobile phones, Samsung Galaxy S2iPhone 5, Dell Vostro 1520 Battery, Toshiba Pa3285u-3bas Battery

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