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The Competition

HP TouchPad review

PreCentral.net reviews the latest iPad competitor -- the HP TouchPad

PreCentral.net's Derek Kessler, who's rapidly become one of my favorite voices in mobile, has just released the his HP TouchPad review. Widely anticipated due to its super smart, incredibly elegant webOS 3.0 operating system, but uncertain due to Palm's recent history of middling hardware and tepid launches, it's been simultaneously heralded as the first real iPad competitor and decried as a me-too device, both before it even hit the shelves. Which is it?

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Google announces social network Google+, should Facebook worry?

Google has finally taken the wraps off their long awaited, highly-anticipated (what?) social network, Google+ and it looks like a really clever take on the age-old problem of mapping personal relationships to a virtual space. It will eventually roll out across Google's web properties, but rather than one monolithic service, it's comprised of several parts:

  • Circles, which let you define your relationships and how much you want to share with who and when. These are usually annoying to set up so no one uses them. Google aims to change that.
  • Sparks, which brings you content based on your interests and hopes to strike up conversations
  • Hangouts, which is multi-person video chat. FaceTime is currently only one-to-one...
  • Mobile, which lets you share and upload from your devices (iOS app in the works?)
  • Huddle, a group messaging platform now in competition with the mature BBM on BlackBerry and nascent iMessage on iOS

Google hasn't had much luck with previous projects like [http://www.imore.com/tag/wave/) and Buzz, but this feels both more ambitious and far better considered. Whether it will be enough to put a dent in Facebook's 750 million member and growing dominance of the social space remains to be seen. (See how I snuck them into the post? I thought you did.)

One thing is clear, with Apple integrating Twitter into iOS and introducing Game Center, Ping (no snickering), and replacing MobileMe with iCloud, they're getting more serious (if not yet more adapt) at Social. And Google's just re-entered, once again, that game in a big way. Are you going to switch?

Videos after the break.

[Google blog via Android Central]

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Amazon launching iPad competitor this fall?

Hit and miss rumor site Digitimes is reporting that Kindle-maker Amazon is set to launch their own, fully featured, iPad competitor as early as August/September. That's to catch the lucrative holiday sales period.

Amazon adopts processors developed by Texas Instruments, with Taiwan-based Wintek to supply touch panels, ILI Technology to supply LCD driver ICs and Quanta Computer responsible for assembly, the sources indicated. Monthly shipments are expected to be 700,000-800,000 units.

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Google Wallet brings NFC-powered payments to Android, will Apple do likewise?

While rumors have been swirling for months that Apple was going to strap NFC (near field communications) to the iTunes cash register and boldly take iPhone 5 into the mobile payments future, Google is already there with the announcement last week of Google Wallet.

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The iPad is really cutting into consumer PC sales according to analyst

For the first time PC sales are set to decline and Citi analyst Walter Pritchard is pointing the finger firmly in the iPads direction. The graph above shows consumer PC sales growth percentages. Month on month they show positive growth; even through the disastrous Windows Vista period and the global recession. If you look closely, between March 2010 and March 2011 you can see a massive decline in growth with it bottoming out in December 2010 and hitting negative figures in March 2011. Now what happened in March 2010 that could have triggered such a decline in PC sales over the following 12 months?

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Google I/O Android announcements [the competition]

Google had their big, ice cream sandwich filled I/O developer conference Android keynote yesterday, and with Apple's own WWDC just a month away, what they chose to announce -- and maybe not announce -- definitely helps sets the stage.

To keep up with the competition, and our sibling site Android Central complete coverage, follow on after the break!

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Apple beats Google to become the world’s most valuable brand

In a recent brand survey by Millward Brown, Apple has taken the top spot from Google as the world’s most valuable brand. The survey revealed the Apple brand to be worth a staggering $153 billion; which was a huge increase on last year’s figures. This resulted in Apple coming out on top and ended Google’s four year reign at the top.

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Unbaked

I spent a couple hours this weekend trying out the BlackBerry PlayBook and Android 3.0, Honeycomb-powered Motorola Xoom tablets. I'd tried the PlayBook and seen the Xoom before at CES 2011, but both were unfinished at the time and I was interested in seeing what the shipping versions were like. Unfortunately, the shipping versions were still unfinished, or more properly, unbaked. They reminded me of cookie dough.

Cookie dough has all the right ingredients, so much so that people can and do enjoy it in its raw, unbaked state. They nibble at it, lick it off mixers, and eat ice cream filled with chunks of it. And why not? It's delicious... In nibbles and licks and chunks. But no matter how good it is in small doses, you inevitably wish someone would just bake it already.

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Sony announce two tablets to take on the iPad [the competition]

Sony has just unveiled two tablets to take on the iPad 2. The two models will be known as the Sony S1 and Sony S2; both will run Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The S1 is aimed squarely at the iPad form factor and comes with a 9.4-inch screen. It will feature a Tegra 2 processor and will have 3G/4G cellular data and WiFi. An IR (infra-red) port is included as standard, to control Sony’s line of Bravia televisions. Sony’s Playstation Network will also be accessible.

The S2 is the interesting model as the form factor is totally different to anything we have seen before. It has two folding 5.5-inch screens that can work together or independently.

Not many more details are available at this stage as Sony say specifications are subject to change. The two models are slated for a release in the fall of this year.

Take a look at the short promo video after the break, then pop back here and let us know what your think of Sony’s tablets in the comments!

[Android Central/a>]

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