iPad Mini With Retina Display

It’s a good thing I didn’t get one of those most-sought-after iPad minis this fall. You guessed it. Apple already has plans to upgrade the iPad mini with a retina display sometime next fall. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in such a hurry. I think the Retina display is worth the wait. I wonder if the news/rumors today will dampen everyone’s enthusiasm to purchase them this year, or will people still buy them because they just couldn’t wait. I would wait. That’s what I would do. The only other question left is, will the iPad mini remain at $329.

SMS Text Messaging Turns 20

I can’t believe it. SMS text messaging is 20 years old. Although, it has been around for 20 years, a few people have not use it, or use it sparingly. A few have become billionaires because of SMS, wireless, and telecommunications in general. If you’re curious what the first text message ever was? Here’s an excerpt from CNN’s report.

The first-ever text message was sent December 3, 1992, by software engineer Neil Papworth, to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis, who received the message on his husky Orbitel 901 cell phone. It read simply, “Happy Christmas.”

Six billion SMS (short message service) messages are sent every day in the United States, according to Forrester Research, and over 2.2 trillion are sent a year. Globally, 8.6 trillion text messages are sent each year, according to Portio Research.

SMS messaging is expected to be a $150 billion-a-year industry in 2013, with carriers charging set monthly fees for unlimited texting, or as much as 20 cents per text. The actual cost to carriers for sending a text message is about 0.03 cents.

Marvell 8864 Gigabit Wireless

Marvell, the maker of wireless chips, plans to release the 8864 chip for the wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which is capable of up reaching gigabit speeds. The release is scheduled for some time next year. Excerpt from Computerworld:

The Marvell 8864 chipset increases performance by using four antennas to receive and four to send data, a configuration which is referred to as simply 4×4. Sending and receiving data using multiple antennas is possible thanks to a technology called MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), which is already used in both Wi-Fi and LTE networks.

In addition to MIMO, Marvell’s chipset also uses a technology called beamforming, which improves performance by aiming the signal at the receiver. The way Marvell has implemented beamforming means smartphones, tablets and laptops don’t have to proactively support it to get the advantages.

The combination of multiple antennas with beamforming results in higher speeds, as well improved range and reliability. For users the improvements also mean longer battery life, because devices such as smartphones can “get on and off the air” faster, Giordano said.

To take full advantage of the 8864 chipset’s capabilities, clients also have to have a 4×4 antenna configuration, but other clients will also see significant improvements, Giordano said.

The Marvell chipset will be used on a multitude of different products, including access points, routers, gateways, video bridges and set top boxes, the first of which will start shipping in the middle of next year.

The Most American Car Is

It’s the Toyota Avalon. If you’re American, you most likely heard others urging you to buy American products. There’s nothing absolutely wrong with that. However, with a global economy, the distinction between what is American and what is foreign is becoming blurry. The differences are not always clear cut. Consider automobiles. NPR reports that the Toyota Avalon is more American than the Ford Focus. From NPR:

According to the latest report, the most “American car” is the Toyota Avalon, which is built in Georgetown, Kentucky. Eighty-five percent of that car’s parts are sourced from the U.S and Canada — a higher percentage than for any car made by a U.S.-based manufacturer. Honda just celebrated its 30th anniversary in the U.S.

As foreign car makers have expanded in the U.S., U.S. automakers have expanded overseas. The Ford Fusion, for example, is now made in Mexico.

Read the rest of the NPR article.

RIM Stock Soaring

Remember the Blackberry? I’ve used it for years. Goldman Sachs just upgraded RIM (Research In Motion) sending stocks to soar. Of course, everything hinges on the on the new Blackberry 10 smartphone. Goldman changed RIM’s outlook from Nuetral to Buy, while changing next year’s target price from $9 to $16. Here are some highlights from Yahoo’s article.

Research In Motion rose Thursday after Goldman Sachs upgraded the phone maker’s shares, saying there’s a “30 percent chance” RIM’s much-delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphones will be a success.

Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski lifted RIM to “Buy” from “Neutral,” the latest analyst to voice a slightly more optimistic view for the troubled company. Goldman lifted its 12-monthprice target to $16 from $9.

RIM was once Canada’s most valuable company, with a market value of more than $80 billion in 2008, but shares have sunk due to ground lost to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and phones running Google Inc.’s Android system.

Shares of Research In Motion added 67 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $11.77 in midday trading on the Nasdaq. The stock is up 78 percent since late September — but it’s down 23 percent this year through Wednesday’s close, and has lost more than 90 percent from its 2008 high.

Are You Looking For A Linux Laptop?

You might want to try the Dell XPS 13. Dell is releasing a lightweight 13 inch XPS 13 laptop loaded with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. It’s targeted for mostly developers, but is sold to anyone that’s interested. Here are some highlights from the article published by Computerworld.

For developers.

Over six months, Dell worked with the open-source community to develop tools, drivers and software for the OS to work on XPS 13.

It’s a little bit pricey.

The laptop has an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. Priced at $1,549, it comes with one year of on-site support as part of the package. The laptop is now available in the U.S. and Canada, and will become available in other countries next year.

The company has described the new XPS 13 with Ubuntu as a developer edition, but will sell the product to enterprises and consumers as well.

Some really great features here.

The joint development effort has also led to some new features unique to the laptop. One is called the “profile tool,” which enables developers to easily set up software development environments via quick access to tools for Ruby, JavaScript and Android in the github repositories.

Another feature on XPS 13 is the “Cloud Launcher” which Dell said allows for simulation of cloud environments on the laptop. The simulated environment can then be deployed directly to the cloud.

Google Play Growing In Asia

I recently got a new Droid Razr on Black Friday. I ordered it online. I have been playing around with it particularly with Google Play. Computerworld has an article about how Google Play is outpacing the Apple App Store in Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea. Here are some highlights I gathered from that article.

The growth of Google Play in Asian countries has been so robust that Japan exceeded the U.S. for the first time in Google Play revenues in October.

Google Play revenues grew 311% from January to October, while App Store revenues grew 13%.

The success in Asia for Google Play is partly because more people use smartphones and tablets in Japan and South Korea than other countries.

Since the App Store is expected to earn nearly $5 billion in 2012, that means Google Play is on pace to earn about $1.25 billion in 2012.

Remmina Remote Desktop Client

Remmina is a free and open-source project released under  GNU GPL license. Remmina is a remote desktop client written in GTK+. It’s perfect for system administrators and travelers needing to work on remote computers. Remmina supports multiple network protocols like RDP, VNC, NX, XDMCP and SSH.

I currently use Remmina to view my Macbook Air remotely from my Linux desktop. It works great so far. I have it running for a better part of the day. It’s seem to be responsive. The remote mouse and keyboard works perfectly. The screen quality is not quite near as the Macbook Air display, but then again, it’s a remote desktop client.

Remmina is available to Ubuntu and Linux Mint users. You can install by typing on the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install remmina

The Remmina Remote Desktop Client icon is available under Menu > Internet.

Visit Remmina’s website.

Google Samsung Chromebook for $249

Google announced today an 11.6 inch Samsung Chromebook for just $249. The Exynos 5 dual-core processor-powered laptop runs on ChromeOS and will have a 1366 x 768 screen resolution. In addition, there will be 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The battery life is six hours. This laptop is perfect for those who use Google cloud services regularly, such as GMail, Docs and Google Drive.

As expected, Chromebooks has its own set of detractors. People either love it or hate it. Some columnists label Chromebooks as netbooks, whose popularity have been waning the last year. Some argue Chromebook’s effectiveness, suggesting to go for a smartphone, a tablet or an ultrabook. With the price point of $249, it’s enticing enough for those wanting to go with ChromeOS, that’s quite dependent on the cloud.

The only big question is, for $249, will people buy it?

Mac Mini With USB 3.0

Along with the iPad mini being introduced on October 23rd, Apple also plans to upgrade the Mac Mini with USB 3.0 ports. Will there be processor and storage upgrades for the Mac Mini? There is no telling at the moment. I guess, we just have to wait until the October 23 announcement. Regardless, the USB 3.0 upgrade is good news for prospective Mac Mini buyers, like me.