Archives for October 2012

The bbc iPlayer has now launched on Sky+ boxes

The bbc iPlayer has been launched on Sky+ boxes.  Now Sky viewers will be able to catch up on the most popular bbc tv programmes, such as EastEnders  Dr Who, just by going into the demand section on the Sky menu.

It is now joined by most of the other major broadcasters interactive players such as ITV Player, Demand 5 and Skys very own interactive player. However Channels 4’s 4oD’s service will be launching on the platform in early 2013. 

All this comes as welcome news to Sky viewers, who in the past had to make sure if they intended to view a programme at a later date that they had to record it through the record facility on the Sky tv box.

Now the five year old bbc iplayer is on most major platforms, with the exception of the new Windows 8 phone os, which is likely to be supported very soon.

Daniel Danker, the general manager of BBC Programmes and On Demand, says that; “BBC iPlayer has had a record-breaking year, with 2 billion requests for programmes in 2011, and nearly 200 million requests in September 2012 alone”.

“Available on over 650 platforms and devices across PC, mobile, tablet and internet-connected TVs, we are delighted that iPlayer is now also available to millions of Sky+ homes. 20% of all iPlayer use is already on the living room TV.

“By partnering with Sky, BBC iPlayer is available on all major UK TV platforms at no extra charge, making sure our audiences can access the best of the BBC’s content at home and on the go, whenever and wherever they choose.”

Sky’s director of TV products Luke Bradley-Jones added: ““We’re delighted to have partnered with the BBC to bring the best of the BBC on demand to Sky customers. Providing customers with the flexibility to enjoy their favourite TV on demand, our comprehensive catch-up TV service perfectly complements the genius of Sky+, which already helps millions of our customers take charge of their viewing.

“We continue to put Sky customers in control, with the addition of BBC iPlayer to Sky+ sitting alongside a range of innovations including remote record, series link and now even being able to use your iPad as a remote control.”

Source BBC

In order to access these interactive services Sky viewers will need to activate the On Demand services and connect their Sky+HD box to their broadband router. If you require more information go to






Apple announces the iPad mini and 4th gen iPad

Apple announces the iPad mini and the 4th gen version of the iPad, which was unexpected.

The iPad mini features were pretty much as expected due to various rumours. It will come with a 7.9-inch display, but to keep the cost down it will not come with a retina display instead it will have the screen resolution of 1024 x 768, which the ipad 2 has. But in reality the screen will appear sharper, due to the pixels being crammed in to a screen which is 2 inched smaller.

It comes in both black and white and measures 7.2mm thick and weighs 0.68lbs, which is 23% thinner and 56% lighter than the full sized iPad.

However the specs inside the iPad mini are also a little let down and some would say it a downgraded smaller version of an iPad 2, because it  uses the iPad 2’s A5 dual-core processor,  it also comes with the same 5-megapixel iSight rear camera, which is from the iPad 2. However there are a few differences from the previous ipad 2 model, now the face time camera has been upgraded to a new FaceTime HD front camera. The iPad mini now also comes with LTE support which now is compatible in more countries outside the US, such the UK.  The other major difference is that now it comes with the new Lightning connector port, which the iPhone 5 and iPad 4 currently has.

Some would say its a downgrade, but some things had to be downgraded to keep the cost down and to make it competitive with the Kindle fire and Nexus 7. Even with its compromises, it’s handy size and weight and it’s connection with Apples excellent eco system will make it a winner.

The Prices of a 16GB iPad mini will start at $329 (£269) for the Wi-Fi model, and $459 (£369) for cellular. 32GB and 64GB models will also be available for $429 (£349) and $529 (£429) in turn. Cellular models will be priced at $559 (£449) and $659 (£529) for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively. The wifi model will be will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, October 26 and it will be released November the 2nd and the cellular model will be available within 2 weeks time.
Apple also announced the new 4th generation iPad today, which came as a surprise  because  the Ipad 3 was only released last March.  However the iPad 4 only comes with only a few upgrades. The new iPad comes with a A6X CPU, which the company claims provides twice the performance of the iPad 3 processor. Like the iPad mini, its Facetime camera has now been upgraded to a FaceTime HD camera. The other difference is that LTE capabilities for the cellular model will now be able to support a wider range of networks across North America and Europe. Lastly  the other change is in the connector port now it has apples new Lightning connector port.

The iPad 4’s 5-megapixel iSight rear camera and the retina display is the same what is in the ipad 3.

In reality it is only worth upgrading if you are an avid gamer, because the new processor will render the gamer better. But it your an ordinary iPad user who uses  the Ipad for digital media and web browsing stick with the ipad 3, because the difference in speed will be hardly noticeable.

The 4th generation iPad will be priced the same as the previous iPad, which is a surprise with the 16GB model starting at $499 (£399) or $629 (£499) for cellular support. 32GB and 64GB models will also be available at similar prices to the iPad 3.

The 4th generation iPad will be available for pre-order starting on this Friday, October 26, the Wi-Fi model should be available on November 2. Apple said that cellular models will begin shipping in a few weeks time.

As the Windows 8 launch date gets closer will it be a success or failure

As the Windows 8 launch date gets closer will it be a success or failure just like Windows Vista was a few years go. 

The success or failure of the OS depends on a few things, but one of the main areas that the Windows os where it does shine out above the competition is in its  flexibility in terms of being able to many things  with it that cannot be done on iOS or Android, such as it’s the only OS that offers compatibility with various hardware peripherals through usb connections, such as printers and other hardware devices and it’s the only OS which offers a full access to a file system without the need to jailbreak the OS. It’s also the only OS that is especially in the case of the Windows 8 none rt version of Windows to offer access to adobe flash websites, which still is used by a large percent of the Internet today.  However it’s important to point out that the rt version is likely to have a limited version of the adobe flash player that will come as not a plug in but instead will be built into the Windows ie metro app, which will give you access to a limited number of flash based websites. Also the none rt version of Windows is the only OS that will give you access to all the various digital media stores such iTunes, the  Google play store and the other various digital media stores.   
All this does highlight the other oses short cummings compared against the Windows os, such as in the case of Android it has a fragmentation and security issues, which results in app instabilities at times on certain devices. And in the case of iOS, the restrictive nature of the OS in terms of buying and sharing apps and digital media outside iTunes severely limits the usefulness of the OS.  So these issues with the other oses should give the Windows OS a fighting chance in determining it’s fate.
In conclusion the success will depend on a few other things as well, such a advertising, hardware, app availability. If they can get within a year most of these bases covered, then the os might stand a good chance of succeeding. But with the Windows OS having over 80 of the market should further increase the odd of it succeeding.   
The fate of the rt version of Windows that will run on the arm processor will be mainly dependent on whether the Windows app store can provide a decent selection of apps, due to it being unable to run Windows 7 legacy apps.  The selection of apps available will be dependant on how well the OS sells, however it has a fighting chance of succeeding, because the metro apps also work on the none rt version of Windows that still commands over 80 percent of the market in terms of sales. So then in reality this could aid the rapid growth of apps and then act as a catalyst for the  possible success for the Windows rt version of the OS. 

The iPad mini is expected to be launched at an apple press event on October the 23rd

The new iPad mini that is rumoured to come with a 7.8 inch display is expected to be launched at an apple press event on October the 23rd, because Apple have issued invites to media product launch event on October 23rd  

If it is the iPad mini that is being launched at this event. Then it is expected to go on  sale on November, according to various rumours. One rumours comes from a website called 9to5Mac in a form of a tweet, that says that it has heard “whispers” that the iPad Mini release date has been pegged for November 2. 


Whilst the technology site noted that nothing was confirmed, it said that the date would “make sense” as “we know the stock is ramping”.

The site however does note that nothing has been officially confirmed, but the site goes on to say that ” it would make sense” as “we know stock is ramping”. “We’ve heard whispers of Nov. 2 iPad Mini release date but nothing confirmed. Date makes sense (Friday) and we know stock is ramping,” the tweet stated.

These rumoured product launch and release dates are most likely to be correct, because Apple wants to steal the limelight from Microsoft, who will be releasing their new Windows 8 software that will be powering a raft of new tablets on the 26th of that month. 

Sky is now rolling out on demand services to its subscribers

Sky tv is now in the process of rolling out an update to their Satellite tv boxes that will enable the box to receive catch-up tv services from all the major Sky channels, along with ITV’s catchup up tv service and channel 5’s on demand service.  These new services can be found  in the new On-Demand section of the EPG, that replaces their Any time service.  However not all the tv catchup services are available on their boxes at the moment. The bbc iPlayer service will be coming in the Autumn and that will be followed by Channel 4′ s 4oD which will be rolled out in early next year.

Previously, Sky+ costumers had to set recordings on their box if they did not want to miss their favourite tv programmes before going out, or they would miss the programme entirely. This will come as welcome news for many Sky tv viewers. However if you intend using this service, you will need to connect your tv box to your router and you will need a data intensive internet  monthly allowance, because downloading a 1 hour tv programme will use as much as 1gb of your monthly data allowance.

This update comes as a raft of changes and improvements that are currently being rolled out to the Sky+ tvguide, which has now over nine million users within the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 


Rumours intensify on the imminent release of Google maps on iOS

Rumours have intensified on the imminent release of Google maps on the iOS platform after a developer called Ben Guild posted images of the alleged replacement app on his website. He goes on to explain in his blog, that this version will have the elements that were missing in the previous version, such as two-finger map rotation and vector-based graphics that will reduce the amount of data that is used. Also he claims that it will be super fast and it will be optimised to work with the iPhones  5’s new 4 inch screen.  It’s also likely if the new app comes to iOS it will also come with other features that Android devices had such as turn by turn directions.



If all this is true then, it will come as a relief to many iOS users, who felt that apples replacement was an underwhelming experience, due to the app being plagued by various issues that have been discussed here.

There could be an element of truth in this rumour, due to the head of Google Eric Schmidt recently commenting about it by downplaying  the prospect of a release of Google maps for iOS. But he did remain hopeful that their will be future collaborations with Apple which gives us a glamour of hope that there is perhaps a iOS version in the works.





Samsung Galaxy S3 mini gets unveiled

Samsung has unveiled at an event in Germany a mini version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. This comes packed with a WVGA Super AMOLED screen (800×480 resolution) measuring 4-inches on the diagonal. This would have appealed to those who was looking for an iPhone 5 alternative that had a 4 inch screen and those who thought that the Samsung Galaxy S3 was too big, but there’s a problem. This phone on appearance looks ideal for those looking for a smaller version of the phone. But things are not as they seem, unfortunately most of the specifications of  the phone have been downgraded which is a shame. The super Samsung’s galaxy’s 3’s 8 mp camera has been downgraded to mediocre 5 mp. Its front camera has also been downgraded from 1.9MPs to vga. Also the lightning fast quad-core EXYNOS chip that was used in the Galaxy S3 has now been replaced with a slower Dual Core 1GHz processor.  

On the plus side, this phone does come with some of the features that cames with the original Samsung Galaxy S3, such as S Voice, which is a voice controlled assistant, and the Smart Stay system that tracks the user’s eye and keeps the screen active as long as the person is looking at it. This phone also comes with Near Field Communication technology, that is used for payments.  This phone  also runs Android jelly bean, which is androids latest os combined with Samsung’s very own touchwiz, but unfortunately the is no guarantees that it will be always be a smooth experience, due to the  device coming packed with a Dual Core 1GHz processor, which is not exactly cutting edge technology in this day and age.

In reality the Mini version of the Galaxy SIII is a lacklustre device that is not worthy of the Galaxy SIII name. The SIII Mini is basically just a re vamped version  of the Galaxy S Advance with a software upgradeIf you’re currently on the market for a mid-range Android handset, then  you’re be better off looking elsewhere, they have just made too many compromises with this model.  If Samsung would have kept to the same hard ware as the Galaxys S3 then this phone could have been a great rival to the iPhone 5, due to the dimensions of the phone being similar.  All in all if your on the market for a 4 inch iPhone 5 rival with similar specifications then, hold on to your money and wait and see what comes out in the near future. Samsung have missed a big opportunity here, they could have been on to a winner if they who have kept the same specifications as the Samsung galaxy S3.


The TomTom app is now available on many Android devices

The TomTom app is now available on many Android devices from the Google play store. 

The TomTom app has been on the iOS for some time, which has proven popular amongst iOS users.   

Corinne Vigreux, managing director of TomTom says:

“TomTom has a history of making great navigation applications. Our existing iPhone app gets fantastic customer feedback and regularly wins awards,” .

“Today, we are bringing this world-class navigation experience to millions of Android smartphone users for the first time.”


On the downside due to Androids fragmentation issue the Tom Tom app will not be compatible with all Android devices, which is largely down to the device not being able to meet certain hardware and software requirements such as Android 2.2 for the app to run. Also many of the top end devices will also not work with the app, due to Tom Tom  not supporting devices that have a resolution of more than more than 854 x 480, some of these top end  devices that will not be able to run this app include the Samsung Galaxy S3,Google Nexus 7. This is a shame because this handicap makes Tom Tom feel incomplete on the android platform and this once again makes iOS shine out above Android as an operating system when it comes to the fragmentation issue. These app incompatibilities are practically unknown within the iOS eco system.  

On the negative side this app requires a lot of memory for it to run. It requires as much as 3.7 GB of free memory to install it. Those interested in this app will need to ensure that you have a large sd card installed in the phone.

The TomTom Navigation app for Android is available now in the Google Play store for an introductory price of 34.99 euros (about $45) The TomTom app is also available to download from the UK play store. The price will be £30.99 for those requiring the  UK/Ireland maps version and £39.99 for those requiring the Western European maps version.


The bbc iplayer adobe air version has been rolled out to Android devices

The bbc has now rolled out their new iPlayer adobe air version called the bbc media player to Android 2.2 devices and upwards.  This update is a response to Adobes decision not to offer flash support on newer devices and that have the newer Jelly bean software. This replaces the adobe flash based version that works with Android version 2.2 and upwards until Android Jelly bean that is not officially supported by the Adobe flash plugin.  Although Adobe did state that after the 15th of August they will not be offering the Adobe plugin for new android devices, but they then brought it back on a temporary basis due to pressure from organisations such as the BBC.  

However new BBC Media Player uses the same poor quality streaming format and bitrates as the old iPlayer app. They should have used the new Http Live Streaming (HLS) solution as they do in iOS, which produces a far superior picture quality. Even when you set the app at the highest settings, the video quality is still a lot to be desired. Its a long way from HD quality – it’s watchable on a phone but very pixelated on a 7” or larger tablet. 

This move follows other companies such as ITV that are now using Adobe air as a solution to power the multimedia playback within their Android apps.

For more information see the bbc iplayer blog



BlueStacks stricks a deal that will enable Android apps to run better on Amd powered devices

A software company called BlueStacks has done a deal with AMD that will allow Android apps to run better on Windows based AMD pc’s and tablets via a programme called the AppZone Player.  BlueStack users will have acess to over 500,000 apps and serveral apps stores, 1Mobile Market, Amazon Appstore, GetJar, and Google Play where they can register and pay for their apps. BlueStacks also includes a feature called Cloud Connect that can sync apps between the Windows client and a user’s dedicated Android devices

In a blog post, the company explained that “BlueStacks has designed and optimized the player for AMD Radeon graphics and … OpenGL drivers found in [ADM] APUs and GPUs.” The results should allow machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8 to smoothly run Android apps in full-screen mode.

Source: informationweek


The Bluestacks software can also run on intel based chips and will soon be able to run also on Arm based chips. This is especially good news for the soon to be released Windows 8 rt platform, that will power Arm based pc’s and tablets that at the moment only has to offer 2000 apps via the Windows 8 store. 


BlueStacks are also in discussions with hardware developers such as Hewlett Packard to their programme come pre-installed on its AMD-powered computers.


However not all apps will work with this programme. There is also no home screen for widgets or custom launchers which is disappointing  because Android has a great selection of useful widgets available also Apps that take advantage of hardware-specific features – such as phone dialing and SMS, GPS positioning, or sensors – aren’t much use with BlueStacks, either.


Finally its also important to point out that if you are using a device with a intel chip, you will not be able to use the AppZone Player to gain access to Android apps. But there is another programme available by BlueStacks that will also enable access. To access it just head over to  the bluestacks website and download their software. However its important to point out that this version of the BlueStacks software might not run as smoothly as the App zone version, due to App Zone version being specifically designed to work with Arm processors.