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середа, 6 квітня 2011 р.

Seagate Launches Thin External Hard Drive

Seagate has introduced its slimmest external hard drive, a 320-GB model that's roughly the width of a pencil and works with a Mac or Windows PC.

The GoFlex Slim, launched Tuesday, is 38% thinner than the previous GoFlex ultra-portable drive and weighs less than six ounces. The new product is about 5 inches high and 3 inches wide, making it easy to carry in a pocket or carrying bag. The Slim uses Seagate's 2.5-inch Momentus hard drive for thin notebooks and netbooks.

There are plenty of cloud services, but many rely on virtual processes running on shared systems. Stratascale's Ironscale lets you provision bare metal services. Mike Fratto provides a hands-on review of how it works and what you can do with it.Our hands-on evaluation of Sychron's virtual desktop management revealed a product that is adept at automating the rapid provisioning and the ongoing management of VMWare ESC and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.In the fourth installment of our Fibre Channel over Ethernet Tutorial series, George Crump, lead analyst for Storage Switzerland walks us through the various scenarios that compel organizations to implement FCoE.
There are plenty of cloud services, but many rely on virtual processes running on shared systems. Stratascale's Ironscale lets you provision bare metal services. Mike Fratto provides a hands-on review of how it works and what you can do with it.

The Slim's black metal case includes a USB 3.0 port, which is compatible with USB 2.0, but can transfer data 10 times faster when connected to another USB 3.0 port. The internal hard drive is also quick at 7,200 revolutions per minute.

The Slim is formatted as a FAT32 file system, so files can be transferred from either a Mac or Windows PC. The drive comes with backup software and the ability to encrypt files.

Seagate is marketing the Slim as an accessory for thin notebooks or netbooks, which typically have less internal storage than mainstream mobile PCs or desktop replacements. The Slim is targeted at anyone with a need to carry video files, large graphics, or presentations.

Seagate is offering an HFS+ formatted version of the Slim for people who want to use the external drive with Apple's Time Machine backup software. The drive, which can also store files from a Windows PC, has a metallic finish meant to complement the aluminum casing of a MacBook. The GoFlex Slim for Mac has a MSRP of $99.

Demand for storage is rising, driving an increase in storage capacity of hard disk drives, as well as shipments of HDDs. IDC predicts that HDD shipments for enterprise applications will rise to 52.6 million units in 2014 from 40.5 million in 2009. At the same time, the price per gigabyte is expected to decline at a rate of 25% to 30% per year.

Seagate introduced last month a 3-TB desktop HDD called the Barracuda XT. The drive is targeted at professional works stations and high-end PCs.

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Dell’s 10 inch Android tablet could ship in June

While word on the street is that Dell’s 10 inch Windows 7 tablet won’t be available until the fall, Forbes is reporting that Dell’s 10 inch Android tablet could ship as soon as this June.

Dell currently offers 5 and 7 inch Android tablets as part of its Streak Line. Both run Google Android 2.2 with Dell’s Stage user interface, but while the original 5 inch Streak has a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the 7 inch model has a dual core 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip.

There’s no word on what specifications the 10 inch model will handle, but I’d be surprised if Dell didn’t at least think about switching to Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb for this model. A higher resolution display would also be nice. Both the 5 and 7 inch Streak tablets have 800 x 480 pixel screens.

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Silverlight, Windows Phone 7 games coming to Xbox 360?

Rumours suggest Microsoft's set to unveil a new version of Flash competitor Silverlight that will be compatible with the Xbox 360 at its MIX 11 developer event next week.

WinRumors sources have claimed the feature has been in the works for a few months, with full integration scheduled to be included in the next wave of updates.

The site was also told Microsoft may be positioning itself to establish an app market by allowing developers to adapt their Windows Phone 7 games and applications using Silverlight.

Earlier this year, Microsoft described the Windows Phone 7 platform as its "mobile console".
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What are the leaked features of upcoming Microsoft Windows 8?

The tech world is awash with speculation over what will be the new, groundbreaking features in Microsoft Windows 8, which could likely see light of the day in 2012. Here is a glimpse into the fancied features of the Windows 8, according to various leaks and tech world ruminations:

1. ARM architecture

The presence of ARM architecture in Windows 8 is almost beyond any debate as Microsoft had said at the Consumer Electronics Show that a new version of the Windows OS will support ARM-based devices. This will be in addition to the capability to run x86 architecture. Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments were specifically cited as Microsoft's ARM partners at the time, CNET has reported.

2. Metro interface for tablets
There have been reports that Microsoft has been working hard to make its next OS version more tablet friendly even as markets have not warmed up to its claim that Windows Phone 7 is mighty suitable for tablets. Business Insider reported that Microsoft could use concepts from the "Metro" interface developed for Windows Phone 7 on the next Windows. The report cited a source at Microsoft as saying that the company could show off its new Windows 8 design for tablets by the end of June.
"This person claims that Microsoft is taking a more Apple-like approach to interface design this time around, and will also be using concepts from the "Metro" interface developed for Windows Phone 7."

3. Ribbon Interface to replace pull-down menus and toolbars
Enthusiast websites have posted some screenshots of certain Windows 8 features online after the company sent pre-beta versions to vendors. The features that have been exposed in such posts include the ribbon interface that will replace pull-down menus and toolbars, a new welcome screen and a "set-up routine and overall interface that takes a page from the design of the Metro UI."

4. An App Store
There is rampant speculation that the Windows 8 could feature an application store. "If it does so, it will put its operating system on an even playing field against Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming “Lion,” which will ship with the App Store built in," says eweek.com. The rationale is that the future of desktop operating systems will include applications marketplaces.

5. Integration with Windows Live features
CNET has fancied if there would be built-in integration with some of Microsoft's Windows Live features in the new Windows 8. It has cited enthusiast site musing over an option for Sync, which could refer to Microsoft's cloud-based Windows Live Mesh. "Another option called "Web sharing" could point to online storage service Windows Live SkyDrive."

6. History Vault
An eweek.com report speculates that Microsoft would go for a feature called 'History Vault' which is similar to Apple’s Time Machine. This will provide a simple backup interface to users of Mac OS X, it says. "Microsoft’s option will let users restore individual file, edit old documents and much more. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the feature, but if a robust backup utility like that comes to Windows, it would be quite nice."

7. Face recognition, 3D capability etc.
Speculation has swirled around in the tech world about the possibility of Microsoft adding fancied features like face recognition and 3D capability.

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Microsoft: Average Windows Phone 7 user downloads a dozen apps each month Read more: Microsoft: Average Windows Phone 7 user downloads a dozen apps each month - FierceMobileIT http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/microsoft-average-windows-phone-7-user-downloads-dozen-apps-each-month/2011-04-06#ixzz1IoaD0ELK Subscribe: http://www.fiercemobileit.com/signup?sourceform=Viral-Tynt-FierceMobileIT-FierceMobileIT

It's been about a year since Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) first showed off its Windows Phone 7 application platform, developer tools and software. The company now reports that the average Windows Phone 7 device owner downloads a dozen apps each month.

Microsoft said more than 1.5 million developers have downloaded the toolset. In addition, registered membership in its premium AppHub developer community now tops 36,000 with 1,200 new developers signing up each week. The company also reported that the Windows Phone Marketplace storefront now includes about 11,500 applications with some 7,500 of those being premium downloads. Another 1,100 ad-funded apps leverage the Microsoft Advertising Ad Control solution.

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"We recognize the importance of getting great apps on our platform and not artificially inflating the number of actual apps available to customer by listing 'wallpapers' as a category, or perhaps allowing competitor's apps to run on the platform to increase 'tonnage,'" Windows Phone 7 director Brandon Watson wrote on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

"We also don't believe in the practice of counting 'lite' apps as unique quality content. In reality they only exist because developers can't have a Trial API and must therefore do extra work. Finally, we don't double and triple count apps which are submitted in multiple languages," said Watson.

He also touted the efficiency of the Windows Phone Marketplace certification program, stating that most submissions earn a pass or fail within 1.8 days. In addition, 62 percent of all submissions pass certification on their first attempt.

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Mobile payment pilot coming to Salt Lake in 2012

Computerworld - Isis, a joint venture of three U.S. wireless carriers, on Tuesday announced that it's planning a pilot of smartphone-based mobile wallet technology in Salt Lake City in 2012.

However, deploying and using the the Isis trial's primary technology, called Near Field Communications (NFC), could turn out to be the easiest part of the project, which will include tests of multiple wireless handsets using multiple operating systems.

The bigger worry is whether the companies in the Isis network will cooperate with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and other companies, including Apple and PayPal, that reportedly have their own mobile payment projects in the works.

Isis, created last November by AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, includes Discover Financial Services and Barclaycard U.S. in its venture.

The Salt Lake City pilot system will be deployed with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and area merchants. The UTA already has many contactless-payment terminal readers that are used with NFC-ready credit cards carried by passengers who travel on buses and commuter and light rail trains, an Isis spokesman said.

In its announcement of the Salt Lake City project, Isis said it's willing to work with other payment networks, banks and mobile networks, but analysts were skeptical, noting that banks and payment networks were already highly competitive in the U.S. even before NFC technology opened up a completely new market.

"We're in the midst of a land grab, and a lot of [mobile payment] players want to own that mobile wallet," said Nick Holland, an analyst at Yankee Group. "If the players don't sort this out, it could be very messy for the end user experience and that could cripple mobile payments."

If multiple mobile payment networks evolve in the U.S. without being somehow unified, consumers could be required to have multiple applications (and icons) on a single smartphone, each activated in a different way and each backed by a different bank or credit card, Holland and other analysts said. If that happens, using an NFC-ready smartphone wouldn't be much better than carrying three or more credit cards today.

"The NFC technology is irrelevant if people can't use it conveniently," Holland added. "Maybe we'll end up with multiple mobile wallets per person."

Visa already has several mobile wallet pilots underway in New York, San Francisco and Washington, and it's working with four major banks and using several smartphone operating systems, Visa spokeswoman Elvira Swanson said Tuesday. Visa is "fairly close to moving beyond the pilot, and we're looking at commencing [mobile payment] launches in the not-too-distant future," she added.

Swanson emphasized that Visa's approach is to give customers mobile access to their existing credit card accounts, not ask them to set up new accounts -- as they might have to do with Isis. "We want to give consumers access to the accounts they already have in their wallets, and we don't want to introduce friction as we roll out mobile payments so that people have to open a new account," she said.

To participate in the Isis Salt Lake City pilot, a customer would presumably have to register for a Discover card account backed by Barclaybank to use the network, unless Isis can get Visa, MasterCard or other credit cards and banks to cooperate with its endeavor, said Bob Egan, an analyst at The Sepharim Group.

"Technology is the least of anybody's worries with mobile payments in the U.S.," Egan said. "The real struggle is what the Isis business plan looks like. One of the continuing tensions in this industry is between issuing banks and alliances like Visa and MasterCard in how they redistribute wealth" from traditional credit card purchases -- and now from mobile banking.

Isis will probably attempt to forge relationships with the largest credit card companies, since Discover is either No. 3 or No. 4 and it's unlikely that many consumers and transit riders in Salt Lake City use its cards, Egan noted. Having Isis and its three wireless carriers involved in the Salt Lake City pilot only complicates the business model, he added.

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Mono for Android Ships, Now .NET Developers Can Build Android Apps

Novell has announced the general availability of Mono for Android today, the solution that lets developers use Windows technologies like C# and .NET to build Android applications. We previously reported on Mono for Android's launch in January of this year, when the preview program opened up for testing after the biggest bugs had been fixed.

Now, Novell is licensing the platform commercially, starting at $399 per developer per year.

Mono for Android complements Novell's MonoTouch project, released in 2009, which allows developers to build apps for Apple iOS devices using the same programming languages - C# and .NET. Developers using both platforms can now save time by sharing code between iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch, Android (phones and tablets), plus of course, Windows Phone 7, Windows PCs and Windows Servers.

Included with Mono for Android is the core Mono runtime, bindings for native Android APIs, a Visual Studio 2010 plugin and an SDK (software development kit) containing the tools developers need to build, debug and deploy their apps. Plus, with an included add-in, MonoDevelop users can develop on OS X. (MonoDevelop is an open source C# and .NET development environment for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows).

In addition to the $399 Professional Edition license, an Enterprise Edition is also available for $999 per year, which includes enterprise deployments, maintenance and updates. There's also a five-developer Enterprise license which is $3,999 per year. Existing MonoTouch users can take 50% off their purchase of Mono for Android for a limited time, says Novell.

You can learn more about Mono for Android here, check out the installation guide, tutorials, the API, the API Design, Mono for Android's architecture and the list of class libraries that are part of Mono for Android.

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WeFi — Crowdsourced hotspot locator for mobile professionals

Mobile professionals know the value of finding free WiFi hotspots, and one of the best ways to find them is with WeFi. WeFi is a free service that pinpoints up-to-date hotspot information on maps either on the WeFi web site or through mobile apps for smartphones. What sets WeFi apart is the crowdsourcing that keeps the hotpot database accurate through real-time information collected from millions of global WeFi users.

The WeFi web site can be accessed through any web browser and presents maps with all known hotspots in a form that is easy to use. Click the cursor on a hotspot on the WeFi map and a popup provides complete information about the hotspot, including if a login is required and if a fee is required. Hotspots of all types appear on the WeFi map, including those in businesses and even home WiFi networks. If you are traveling to a new location, simply enter the address and get the map for that area with all hotspots duly noted.

The WeFi mobile apps (Symbian, Windows Mobile, Android) are free and make both finding hotspots and updating information on hotspots as easy as a few taps on the screen. This crowdsourcing is what sets WeFi apart from other hotspot locators, as it collects information about a hotspot in real-time from the mobile apps. Lists of hotspots can be displayed if maps are not desired. Finding hotspots could not be easier.

Android phone owners with the WeFi app installed can take hotspot location to the next level by also installing the free app Lookator. This is an augmented reality app that shows the WeFi hotspots on the phone screen using AR. The phone camera shows the surrounding area on screen with all nearby hotspots superimposed on the moving display. This is a practical use of AR as it makes it easy to start walking towards the hotspots showing around you. Finding hotspots in a busy urban area couldn’t be easier.
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New Apple App Showcases iAds

Most of us try to avoid ads—ponying up 99 cents for ad-free apps or fast forwarding through commercials via the DVR. But for those of you who enjoy a glossy advertisement now and then, Apple has released an app comprised solely of the advertisements in its iAd program.

The "iAd Gallery" app, available for free in the App Store, gives users a glimpse into the ads that Apple is serving up on its network. When you first sign in, Apple showcases eight of its newest ads, which users can scroll through and tap for more information. See one your particularly adore? Tap it and hit the heart button on the top-right corner to "Love" it and save for later.

The main point of the app is likely to get other advertisers to sign up for iAds, so there is, of course, the opportunity for companies to reach out and get more information from Apple.

Developers looking to mimic this strategy might want to think again. According to Inneractive, Apple recently pulled an app called Ads Tube, which aggegated Apple's ads into one app, for a "lack of functionality." But Apple soon introduced iAd Gallery, which does the same thing as Ads Tube. This is nothing new; Apple has frequently been criticized for the random nature of its App Store. And it's not surprising that it wants to have control over its own iAd program.

In February, there were reports that Apple had slashed the minimum $1 million purchase in half for its mobile advertising platform, several months after it broke into the European market.

The company launched its first iAd for the iPad in December, featuring Disney's upcoming movie "Tron Legacy."

For more, see What Will Apple's iAds Mean for You?

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Judge Reverses $625.5 Million Verdict Against Apple

A federal judge in Tyler, Texas this week ruled that Apple didn't infringe a patent owned by Mirror Worlds LLC, throwing out a $625.5 million patent infringement verdict over how documents are displayed on a computer screen, according to a Bloomberg report. At the same time, the judge did uphold the validity of the three Mirror Worlds patents, but said the damage award was too high.

"Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but it failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law," U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis wrote.

Mirror Worlds, which was founded by a Yale University professor, sued Apple in 2008 alleging that Mac computers infringed its patents over document display technology. In particular, Mirror Worlds took issue with Spotlight, Time Machine, and Cover Flow features in Apple's Mac OSes.

A jury agreed with Mirror Worlds back in October, awarding the company $208.5 million in damages for each of the three patents. However, Apple was successful in arguing that the damages were too high and shouldn't be added together.

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Suppliers delivered 2.4M-2.6M iPad 2 units to Apple in March - report

Perhaps offering an indication of how many iPad 2 units were sold at launch, a new report claims Apple received between 2.4 million and 2.6 million of the hot-selling device from suppliers in the month of March.

A "conservative estimate" of iPad 2 supply going forward sees Apple taking delivery of 4 million to 4.5 million iPad units a month, totaling more than 12 million units in the second quarter of 2011, supply chain sources told DigiTimes. Upstream touch panel makers reportedly indicated that sales of the iPad 2 are running at a faster rate than the first-generation device released in April of 2010.

Those sources also reportedly indicated that the "key" for Apple and other tablet makers will be the supply of "cover lenses for touch panel modules." For Apple to meet its goals in building iPad 2 units in 2011, it will need a steady supply of components from touch panel makers.

In January, Apple revealed that it had invested $3.9 billion into secret long-term component contracts. Though the company would not reveal which components it had inked a deal to secure, it has been speculated that constrained hardware like the glass capacitive touch panels found on the iPad could play a part.

Given regular stock-outs of the iPad 2 in March, Apple presumably sold through the entirety of shipments it received. That would mean Apple sold at least 2.4 million units, if component suppliers' estimates are accurate.

For comparison, the first-generation iPad took 28 days to reach its first million sales. Initially, only the Wi-Fi model was on sale for the first month in the U.S., while both the Wi-Fi-only and 3G-capable iPad 2 models went on sale at the same time in 2011. In addition, Apple began international sales of the iPad 2 in 25 countries in late March, faster than the rollout of the first-generation iPad.

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Why Google Needs Android to be Less Open

Google's Android OS is a mobile force to be reckoned with. Android smartphones have quickly risen to the top of the food chain, and Android tablets are emerging as a solid rival for Apple's iPad tablet. The "open" nature of the Android OS has contributed to its success, but the lack of control over the Android ecosystem as a whole creates a confusing landscape for app developers and could ultimately hinder the platform.

An Appcelerator survey from January found that 88 percent of app developers surveyed believe that Android is the most open mobile platform, and that 76 percent feel that Android is "best positioned to power a large number of connected devices in the future". Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents named Android the mobile platform with the best long-term outlook. Increasingly, though, the question is "which Android?"

The open nature of Android leads to more diverse hardware and software variations that threaten to fragment the platform.The popularity of Android makes it a potentially lucrative market for app developers. The problem, though, for Android app developers is answering the question of which Android they're developing for: Smartphone Android or tablet Android? Which version of Android? Will the app be optimized to work with the diverse hardware running the chosen flavor of Android? Which app store will the app be distributed through?

Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst, agrees that the fragmentation of the Android platform is becoming an issue. The diverse hardware and software options available add complexity for design and testing of apps, making it more difficult to produce a single app that works across the Android ecosystem. Hilwa believes that an even bigger concern is that developers will cater to the lowest common denominator rather than investing the effort to optimize an app to take advantage of different hardware scenarios--degrading the overall experience and failing to reach the potential Android is capable of.

Hilwa says, "This is not something that cannot be fixed, but like steering an oil-tanker, it may will take a persistent steady hand on the issue by Google to turn the situation around."

Scott Schwarzhoff, VP of marketing at Appcelerator, points out that there are multiple layers of fragmentation for app developers in general. A developer has to contend with fragmentation at the OS level--Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone 7, plus the further fragmentation of different versions of Android depending on the hardware platform and manufacturer, at the programming skills level--Java vs. Objective-C, at the device level--smartphone vs. tablet, and at the distribution level--Apple App Store vs. Android Market and the diverse collection of alternative Android app stores.

Schwarzhoff explains, "So the risk profile for mobile development against this backdrop is extremely high if a developer doesn't consider how to better organize/leverage their teams and build an integrated mobile architecture that can scale to meet the fragmentation issues above."

Google has already more or less admitted that "open" is more a marketing buzz term than a culture for Android. It is "open" compared to Apple's iOS, but not open in the true sense of an open source project that is open to the developing public. Google still controls the source code, and Google decides when to release new versions.

What Google also needs to do, though, is to work more closely with Android vendors to establish some baseline minimum hardware requirements for devices, and push for more consistency in releasing Android OS updates for devices so that Android app developers don't have to contend with such a confusing array of options.

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Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover Compatible Cases Available at Cases.com Plus More from Piel Frama

The hottest tablet on the market deserves only the best cases on the market. Working together with Piel Frama, one of the top leather case manufacturers in the world, Cases.com is introducing their new lineup of iPad 2 cases.

One thing that sets the new iPad 2 apart from the other tablets is the brilliant Smart Cover that attaches magnetically to the side of the iPad 2. When the cover is in use (closed), it puts the iPad 2 to sleep until it’s opened up again. Piel Frama, a renowned luxury Spanish Leather manufacturer, created the perfect match for the Smart Cover and unveiled the iMagnum case for Apple iPad 2 (http://www.cases.com/pf534bk.htm). The Piel Frama iMagnum is literally a match for the iPad 2 Smart Cover. The fine folks in Spain meticulously created a custom color palette to match each of the ten colors that the Smart Cover comes in. The colors are tan, black, navy, cream and red to match the leather Smart Covers and gray, blue, green, orange and pink to match the polyurethane Smart Covers. All colors and other iPad 2 cases can be viewed here: http://www.cases.com/ipad-2.htm.

Alex German, Marketing Director of Cases.com, comments that “the iPad 2 Piel Frama iMagnum Leather Case is the best complement to the Apple’s Smart Cover and we are happy that Piel Frama stepped out of the box and really showed off their creativity and imagination with this case.”

The iMagnum iPad 2 case is made to work with the Smart Cover and will retain the Smart Cover’s main functions including the ‘keyboard stand’ and ‘video stand,’ in addition to providing durable layered protection of the back and sides of the iPad. The iMagnum shell is comprised of 5 layers of solid, yet soft and luxurious protection. The outermost layer is high quality cow-hide leather. Following is a soft/gummy like material to add cushioning. Next is a thermoplastic polymer layer. Behind is a strong fabric material. The final layer is the inner cow-hide leather. (http://www.cases.com/pf534bk.htm)

Piel Frama’s lineup for the iPad 2 also includes the Magnetic case which is a classic leather flip case which houses the iPad 2 inside the leather framing, protecting it from drops and shocks. The flip cover includes one general compartment and has a magnetic closure system which will activate the iPad 2’s sleep function when closed. Another case from Piel Frama is the Cinema Magnetic case which is similar to the Magnetic case but also has a built-in stand so you can easily watch your favorite videos, while protecting your iPad 2. Lastly, the Slim Leather Pouch for the iPad 2 is simple pouch that allows you to slide in your naked iPad 2, which also fits with Smart Cover on, and protect it while you’re on the go. As with all Piel Frama cases, these cases are available in a wide array of colors and leather patterns at Cases.com. (http://www.cases.com/ipad-2.htm)

Having strong relationships with premium case manufacturers from all over the world, Cases.com has been able to provide an enormous array of beautiful cases of various colors, styles and materials while passing down the savings to the consumer. Since they warehouse inventory at their Colorado, USA headquarters, Cases.com is able to provide fast delivery throughout the states as well as worldwide. (http://www.cases.com)

“Upon your visit to Cases.com you will experience easy navigation, ultimate selection, great customer service and quick checkout. We believe that if you are spending money with us, you deserve only the utmost customer service that we can provide. We take your business very seriously. Our site is constantly being updated to bring your device the latest protection and style, so you can trust us to help you accessorize your digital life!” Alex German concludes.
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Sleek iPad 2 outshines iPad 1

For those of us who spent months saving up to buy an iPad, the news of its upgrade came as a bit of a downer.

Even though the original iPad came with a pretty lofty price (and only AT&T service until recently), the public wasted no time plucking them off the shelves. These handy-dandy touch screen tablets are more convenient than an awkward notepad, and let's be honest here; they're a pretty stylish status symbol. So leave it to Apple to wait until we've all got the best new toy in town to release a newer one.

Luckily, besides a few cosmetic differences and a one really fun camera, the iPad 2 is fairly similar to those we are carrying around now.

The first thing I noticed was the color option: black or white. Personally, I prefer the black. But it's nice to know people have options. I'm guessing iPad 2 users will opt for the white, because otherwise people may not automatically realize it's the newest iPad.

According to apple.com, the new iPad is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter. This is noticeably true. A side-by-side comparison of the two made the differences even more pronounced. After playing around with the newer version for a few moments, my once light iPad seemed weighty by comparison.

The camera feature was especially fun. The front and rear cameras make the new iPad perfect for web chatting, taking video and snapping pictures. This was the aspect of the new tablet I envied most.

I'm not sure when or why I'd use it, but the option to record myself while I play "Angry Birds" is highly appealing.

The apple website and the friendly Apple employees assured me the processing speed is higher. The newer version has a dual-core A5 chip, whatever that means.

For laymen like myself, the name of the chip isn't what's important—it's the performance. So I took the sleek, lightweight, camera infused toy for a little test drive.

The operating system is identical, so there aren't any new functions to learn, and the standard applications are the same except for the added camera utilities. I loaded up the Safari web browser and surfed the Internet for a while, and then I played around with some of the applications.

When it came to speed, clarity and ease of access, I couldn't tell my tablet from the new one. Videos and photos all loaded just as quickly as do those on my iPad, and loading speeds and scrolling was the same was well.

But the price is the kicker. I hoped the new iPad would sport a higher price for the added camera and alleged speed increase. That way I could feel justified in keeping my older version. But comparatively speaking, the new tablets' prices don't differ much from those of the iPad 1. They range from $499-$829 depending on gigabyte size and service plans (3G network connection will cost you extra).

So now I have to pretend to hate the new iPad in order to mask my envy. But until then, does anyone want to buy my iPad 1?
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iPad 2, Tablets Will Wound, but Not Kill Laptops: 10 Reasons Why

Apple's iPad 2 has been an absolute retail success. The device is still extremely difficult to find on store shelves, and those who order it online still need to wait weeks for it to arrive on their doorstep. That success, combined with the sheer number of tablets expected to launch this year, has just about every analyst saying that the tablet market is poised for a sales explosion. And over the next several years, consumers will continue to jump at the chance to buy an iPad or similar device.

That success has caused some to speculate about the future of notebooks. Traditionally, notebooks have been the mobile companions for consumers and enterprise customers alike. In addition, their sales history has proved that the market is keen on those products. But a new report from AppleInsider, which cited "supply chain" sources, reveals that demand for PCs is rather "weak" right now. And the publication's sources say that it could be due to the sheer number of people opting for tablets.

It's an interesting report, and on one hand, it might make some wonder if the notebook's days are numbered. However, laptops are here to stay. While devices like the iPad 2 are undoubtedly hurting notebook sales, these mobile devices won't eliminate their chief competitor.

Here are the reasons why:

1. The enterprise

Although an increasing number of companies are warming to the idea of bringing the iPad 2 or another tablet into their corporate networks, the vast majority of companies realize that notebooks are still relevant and necessary. Employees must be able to have access to Microsoft Windows when they're away from the office. And they also need to be productive. Tablets don't afford those opportunities in any sufficient way right now. Until they do, the corporate world alone will be keeping notebooks afloat.

2. It's too hard to type

One of the biggest drawbacks with tablets is that they don't make it easy for users to type. The iPad 2's virtual keyboard is arguably the best on the market, but it still can't compare to an old-fashioned physical keyboard. Yes, consumers can buy a separate keyboard access for the iPad 2, but it's not ideal. Having a physical keyboard built-in is another reason notebooks continue to be relevant.

3. The operating system isn't powerful enough

As nice as iOS is, it can't compare to Windows or Mac OS X. It simply doesn't have the kind of firepower that customers are after. Mobile operating systems are built to be lightweight and capable of engaging in simple tasks—like email, surfing the Web and watching video—as efficiently as possible. The operating systems lack worthwhile file systems, a more robust interface and all the other things that people will find in the operating systems running on notebooks.

4. Windows is still important

Following that, it's important to keep in mind that Microsoft's Windows platform is still important in today's tech industry. Microsoft's operating system is running on the vast majority of computers around the world. It's a platform that people are comfortable using. Perhaps most importantly, it's the operating system most folks use every day at work. Until Windows somehow loses a significant portion of the OS market, notebooks will be here to stay.
5. Notebook prices are coming down

No matter the budget, consumers and enterprise customers can go out right now and find a suitable notebook for a fine price. Dozens of notebooks are available on the Web for as little as $500 for a solid option and even less for more outdated products. That's an outstanding value, considering the cheapest iPad 2 starts at $499. When it comes to customers evaluating how far their dollars can go with either a tablet or notebook, it might be hard for them to choose the former. At this point, notebooks are the value kings.

6. The market for productivity

In the enterprise, much of the focus for IT staffs is productivity. They constantly evaluate how much they can get out of employees with the technology they have in place. One of the biggest issues with devices like the iPad 2 is that they can be productivity drains. People are using them to watch Netflix content, listen to music and play games through the App Store. Moreover, usage on a tablet is a bit more difficult to track. Yes, all those nonproductive exploits can be engaged in on a notebook, but companies can do a better job of modifying actions on a notebook than they can a tablet. And they're fully aware of that fact.

7. Apple isn't universally beloved

As nice as the iPad 2 might be, to say that a single device will ever be able to kill off an entire category of products is ludicrous. Apple is not universally beloved by the market. In fact, there are many folks out there who are decidedly anti-Apple. So, although the iPad 2 is hurting notebook sales on its own, the chances of it actually killing off notebooks are nil.

8. Tablets themselves aren't universally beloved either

The same can be said for the tablet market as a whole. When sales figures emerge and iPad 2 units aren't on store shelves, it's easy for some folks to think that tablets are catching on with everyone. But they're not. In fact, there are millions around the globe who have tried tablets out and determined they weren't for them. And for the most part, those people who don't want tablets are turning to notebooks to satisfy their mobile needs.

9. The market is too big

According to market research firm IDC, more than 93 million PCs shipped around the world during the fourth quarter of 2010, alone. That figure, which included desktops, mobile PCs and mininotebooks (but not tablets), easily bested the 15 million iPad units Apple sold last year. It also easily bests Gartner's estimate from last year, saying that nearly 55 million tablets will ship in 2011. Although notebooks didn't account for all 93 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter, it made up a sizable chunk of it. And that was just one quarter. To kill off notebooks would be a feat unlike anything ever witnessed in the mobile-productivity space.

10. Power, power, power

As mentioned, the operating systems available on tablets are not as powerful as they could be. But it's not just that. Tablets themselves lack the power that notebooks offer. Devices like Apple's MacBook Pro are suitable for resource-intensive tasks, like editing video and even high-end gaming. The iPad 2 can perform those activities on a much simpler level. Serious users who need a high-end processor, ample RAM and a big hard drive won't find those in a tablet. And until that changes, notebooks will be here to stay.
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