TomTom announced a software update to a handful of its portable navigation devices. The updates aim to make these devices more customizable and easier to use. Models include the TomTom x50-series (including the XL 350 and the XXL 550) and the XL 335 LE, SE, and LM models. Users can access the updates for free by connecting their devices to an Internet-connected PC and downloading the software using the TomTom Home application.
New features include route detail options that appear after choosing a destination; user customizations to the map screen's status bar; more granular route planning and display brightness … Read more
Apple has released an update for 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro systems released in mid-2010, which addresses a problem that could cause freezes and hangs during use, and more notably during start-up. The prevalence of this problem is rare, but has affected a few systems.
In addition to the freezes and hangs, the update addresses compatibility issues with external displays.
In order to install the update, you will need to have your external power supply attached and should expect a gray screen with a status bar appear when the system reboots. It is important that you do not interrupt this … Read more
After publishing a mostly positive review of the Samsung PNC7000 series on July 14, 2010, I received a couple of e-mails from readers wondering why I didn't notice its overt dejudder processing.
The processing, which apparently cannot be defeated without engaging Game mode on the PNC7000, creates a smoothing effect that typically make film look more like video. It's sometimes called the "Soap Opera Effect" at places like enthusiast Web site avsforum.
I replied to the readers that I didn't see any dejudder on the sample I reviewed, but I promised to ask Samsung for an explanation.
The explanation came a couple of days later, when Samsung's representative said the company had sent me a review sample that contained firmware that was not yet available to the public.
The reply e-mail read:
"A firmware update is being released on Friday, 7/23 (v1026) and will solve your reader's dejudder issue, updates your review unit already contains." When I asked why, the reply was: "Your TV had the firmware update because it was already supposed to be out before Friday and we didn't want you to have to re-review the unit."
Updated September 2, 2010: At the IFA show in Berlin Sony announced that this upgrade would arrive in October, not September as the company had previously indicated. (via Engadget)
People who bought the Sony PlayStation 3 for its built-in Blu-ray player may have another reason to feel good about themselves. Sony has confirmed that in October the multitalented game console will receive a firmware update that allows it to play 3D Blu-ray discs.
"We're launching another Firmware upgrade--and this one is going to upgrade the PS3 to support Blu-ray movies in 3D," said Mick Hocking, senior director of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, at a press event in London late last week. He also mentioned future upgrades to support 3D photos and 3D YouTube videos. The console's update for 3D gaming came worldwide in June.
When the 3D Blu-ray upgrade hits homes this fall, the crucial installed base of 3D-compatible Blu-ray hardware will increase significantly; there are "35.8 million PlayStation 3s out there," according to Hocking. The upgrade, which we assume will be free as usual, makes the cost of upgrading to 3D a bit less expensive than before. Of course, you'll still need a new TV and expensive glasses for everyone, but at least PS3 owners won't have to buy a new Blu-ray player.
Rumors of a fee-based PlayStation Network subscription service swirled before E3 2010, and Sony officially announced the product at its press conference. Starting Tuesday, PS3 owners can sign up for PlayStation Plus by installing firmware update 3.40.
With update 3.40 come some other enhancements, including a new network-based photo-sharing application that allows users to upload, comment on, and share items on Facebook and Picasa, or between their PSN friends. Other minor tweaks include new power settings (auto-off is now two hours by default), and a rating system for items available in the PlayStation Store.
Sony is also giving … Read more
Apple's iOS4 is spreading out to iPhone and iPod Touch owners today. Upgrading the firmware on your iPhone or iPod may be old hat for some of you, but if this is your first time around, here's the iOS 4 upgrade process in five easy steps.
The iOS 4 upgrade is free for both iPhone and iPod Touch, but excludes first-gen models.
Amazon posted info on its site about a new 2.5 software update for Kindle and Kindle DX users that's coming soon. The company says it has begun rolling out the new software update to "a limited group of Kindle users" and plans a broad release in late May. The big news here is that owners of the second-generation Kindle and the Kindle DX will soon be able to share book passages with friends on Twitter and Facebook, and Amazon's also improving its PDF-viewing support with an enhanced pan-and-zoom feature.
Here's the full list of … Read more
When Barnes & Noble launched the Nook e-book reader late last year, the company said it would offer unique features such as e-book lending, free in-store streaming of many titles, and Android apps that would run on the color touch screen at the bottom of the device. Well, after releasing two smaller firmware updates that mainly focused on fixing bugs, improving performance, and tweaking the user interface, Barnes & Noble has finally rolled out a more substantial update that includes the extra features it originally promised would set the Nook apart from Amazon's Kindle.
While the lending feature has been available for several months, one of the key additions is the Read in Store wireless streaming feature. Once the new firmware is installed (version 1.3 should be automatically pushed to your device once you connect to a Wi-Fi network and check for new content in your library), you'll be able to read certain books from the company's e-book catalog free of charge on your Nook when you're in a Barnes & Noble store (free Wi-Fi is offered in stores). As previously reported, you can only access a title for up to an hour per day, but you could return on subsequent days to continue reading. Alternatively, you could also just sit in a store and read a hard copy of the book at your leisure, but that's so old-school.
Barnes & Noble didn't specify just how many books would be available for free streaming, but company reps said that at launch content would be available from all the major publishers and that some bestsellers would be on the list. (We'll be checking just how much content is actually available in the next few days).
Additionally, Barnes & Noble has added two Android games to the Nook--chess and sudoku--along with a Web browser that's labeled with the "beta" tag.
It's also important to note that because the device can now access the Web, you can log in to Wi-Fi networks that require authentication via a Web page. Nook owners have been asking for the ability to access more public Wi-Fi hot spots since the e-reader's launch. The firmware is also supposed to fix some outstanding bugs, including a freezing problem that affected certain units, and to speed up page turns (yes, they do seem faster).
Here's the quick rundown of what's new in v1.3:Read in Store wireless streaming of certain e-book titles Web browser Two Android games (chess, sudoku) Bug fixes (allegedly addresses freezing problem with certain units) User interface and performance tweaks (faster page turns)
In advance of the update, we got a demo of the Read in Store feature at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, and the streaming appeared to work just fine. While only e-books will be available for launch, company reps said the ability to stream periodicals would be added in the near future.
The demo was conducted in an in-store Barnes & Noble Cafe, and a couple of tables away from us, a patron was flipping through a few magazines he'd borrowed from the nearby magazine rack as he sipped coffee. At another table, a customer was using B&N's free Wi-Fi to surf the Web on his iPad, which begged the question, when would we see a new B&N eReader iPad app? … Read more