Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 1st, 2011

I hope you’re enjoying our grand opening day celebrations! It’s now time to take a look at the top stories dominating the tech world today:

Google in Talks to buy Hulu?
Various media are reporting today that Google is in preliminary talks with Hulu in an effort to add them to the unstoppable Internet empire’s already sterling portfolio of services. Hulu, the top online distributor of television shows on the Internet, has prepared itself for sale by working with creators of the content that is shown on it’s website. The media is also reporting that Yahoo is a potential buyer for the company. Who will win the war? Only time will tell!

Facebook to Launch Video Chat Service?
Facebook sent out an invitation to the media today inviting them to an announcement that they will be making next week. Popular tech site TechCrunch has reported that the social media giant will announce a video chatting service, similar to the Google+ Hangouts feature on Google+. Furthermore, TechCrunch is reporting that the video chat service will be created in a partnership with Skype. If not a video chat service that will be announced, another possibility is the long-awaited iPad app.

Twitter hits 200,000,000 tweets per day!
Lots of milestones hit this week. Twitter announced that their popular microblogging service has surpassed 200 million tweets per day. This is up from 65 million tweets per day around a year ago. It makes you wonder, though–how many of these tweets are considered spam? To put this into perspective: Digital Lust’s new Twitter account was just launched today and has already turned away a few prosti-twits from following it.

Windows Phone Marketplace hits 25,000 apps
Windows Phone 7 launched late last year, and already has hit 25,000 apps. Of course, this is nowhere near the amount of apps that are present on the Android Market or the Apple App Store. Windows Phone 7 is quickly gaining steam, however, and it will certainly be interesting to see how it is performing this time next year.

App Store hits 100,000 iPad apps
It seems that all of the major mobile corporations with the exception of RIM have great milestones to celebrate this week. The Apple App Store hit 100,000 iPad-optimized apps today, which is a number several times greater than other tablet app providers. Now if only Hanging with Friends HD would hurry up and come out…

Android hits 500,000 activations per day!
Finally in milestones, perhaps even the most impressive: Android has achieved over 500,000 activations per day worldwide. This is significant, folks. At this rate, Android is poised to take over all other mobile operating systems in a very short amount of time. It will certainly be interesting to see how long this growth continues before slowing down, and also what other developers will do to try and steal some of that growth away from Google.

Google+ Invites Invade eBay
Google+ launched this week for a very limited beta. Shortly after the beta began, Google opened up invites for it’s users to begin handing out to their friends. These invites were unlimited, and it became insanely popular very quickly–even to the point where they had to shut down invites to alleviate traffic issues that they began having on the new service. On eBay, various Google+ users are posting new auctions for invites, with prices ranging right around $75. Is it worth it? Probably not. But seriously, if someone wants to toss a Google+ invite my way, I’ll totally understand.

Playstation Network Welcome Back Package Ends This Sunday
After the Playstation Network relaunched late last month after being hacked and shut down for 4 weeks, Sony released a comprehensive Welcome Back package that included 2 free games (inFamous and Dead Nation, FTW!), a 30 day free subscription to Playstation Plus, movie rentals, and other free content. This Sunday, the plug will be pulled on the package, so if you haven’t already, make sure to go and get your free stuff!

And that about does it for today’s installment of Digital Lust Daily. Be sure to check back every weekday for a quick summation of all of the latest news in the digital world.

Review: HTC Evo 3D

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Whenever we review gadgets here on Digital Lust, it will likely be a quick review based on a store visit where I play with a new phone (this blog is brand new, remember…). But just a week ago, I traded in my trusty HTC Evo 4G in favor of the newer, faster Evo 3D, so that gives me an opportunity to give a full blown review based on a few days of experience using the phone.

Lets start with the quick and dirty specs of the phone. The new Evo 3D packs a 1.2 gHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3″ qHD display, dual 5.0 megapixel cameras, and a 1730 mAh battery. It runs Android 2.3.3, with the beautiful new Sense 3.0 overlay. For owners of the original Evo 4G, you should be excited, because this phone clears up many of the issues you may or may not have had with the original device. The phone itself is roughly the same size as the Evo 4G, just slightly taller and thinner. It also feels lighter and easier to hold. The mini-USB jack has been moved to the side of the device (thank you, HTC!!!), and the only other new hardware addition is the camera button on the side. Overall, the phone looks and feels much more refined.

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The phone features a textured backing that gives it much better grip. Also note the giant cameras and lack of kickstand.

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The phone is lighter and feels thinner than the original Evo.

The newest feature to the Evo 3D is in it’s namesake–the phone features a new, stereoscopic 3D display not unlike what can be found on the Nintendo 3DS. The phone’s dual cameras are capable of producing high quality, 3D images, and displaying them through what is known as a parallax barrier. At first, viewing the 3D content may seem headache-inducing, but once you have grasped the concept of how to effectively take 3D photos, you’ll adjust to the new display. Aside from the 3D imaging, the phone also features a demo of Ultimate Spiderman 3D, as well as a copy of The Green Hornet 3D for your viewing pleasure.

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Once you have a good grasp on how to take 3D images, you’ll notice that the 3D effect is truly stunning.

Performance wise, the Evo 3D is the fastest phone that I have ever used. That is thanks to the dual-core processor that the phone uses. Everything on the phone runs extremely quickly–video playback is fantastic, gaming is faster than ever, and running your everyday tasks to fulfill your life has never been quicker. Call quality, despite what other reviewers of the phone might say, is quite spectacular. Every time I make a call, I can hear the person I’m speaking to quite clearly, with little interruption or distortion.

Data is also very snappy–if you’re using Sprint’s WiMax network. 3G speeds on the Evo 3D have yet to impress me, as they seem incredibly slow based on what I experienced on the original Evo. This, of course, could be issues with Sprint’s network in general, or maybe they need to update the radios on the phone. Whichever the case, it isn’t pretty yet. This seems to be my one gripe that I have with the phone thus far.

Battery life has always been something that has been significantly lacking on Android devices, and as these devices get seemingly more powerful, battery life has never really held up well. That changes with the Evo 3D. Many reviewers for the Evo 3D have been extremely critical of the battery on the phone, and I couldn’t disagree with them more. The 1730mAh battery seems sufficient enough to get through a day with heavy use. For example, I went to a concert last weekend. I charged the phone completely before leaving. I took about 50 pictures, about 15 minutes of 3D video, checked Facebook constantly, and uploaded a bunch of my pictures onto Facebook. After 6 hours of extremely heavy use, I was down to 45% battery, which means I would have made it maybe 11 hours if I had kept going at the same rate. The original Evo would have died probably about half way through that usage. I’m pretty impressed with the battery, and hope that it can only get better after the phone starts to see custom ROMs.

On a final note about performance, let’s talk about Sense 3.0. This is what everyone with an HTC device has been waiting for, and it is finally available through both the Evo 3D and the Sensation. This new version of Sense is nothing but pure sexy. The general concept of Sense is exactly the same, with the Rosie launcher being practically the same as it has been on previous Sense devices. The polishing, however, it what sets it apart. The widgets look better with their new 3D effects, Sense apps (messaging and email, specifically) are more functional and cleaner than ever before. My favorite part is the new lockscreen. It features a ring that you pull up to the center of the screen to unlock. You also have four icons that you can drag down into the ring to instantly launch your favorite and most used applications. On top of that, you can also choose from having weather, stocks, messages, photos, or your Friend Stream appear right on the screen. It’s a huge step up from previous versions of Sense, and is one of the best parts of the phone. All in all, Sense 3.0 is practically perfection for an Android device.

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The new Sense 3.0 lockscreen allows you to show weather, messages, stocks, or photos directly on the screen while unlocking your phone.

The final bit I’d like to touch up on is the photo quality on the Evo 3D. While the two 5.0 megapixel cameras are significantly lower quality than the original Evo, I can’t see too much of a difference in quality. For 2D pictures, it may appear somewhat lower quality. I have found that taking 3D pictures is more effective, and if I want to post them to Facebook or here on the blog, I simply have to convert them to 2D (and the phone will do it for you). I know some reviewers are disappointed with the quality of images, but it honestly isn’t something that I’m griping about.

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This was a shot that I originally took in 3D. The phone gives you the option of sharing the photo in 2D or 3D.

With all of that said, it would appear that the Evo 3D is a worthy successor to the Evo 4G. True statement. The new Evo has so many things going for it. With the new 18-month software upgrade program that Google has partnered with many manufacturers to create, the Evo 3D will be seeing the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich), and possibly many more versions as they are created. The Evo 3D costs $199.99 for a new, 2-year contract. If you’re like me though, being a Sprint Premier customer, you may be eligible to trade your Evo 4G in and receive a $150 credit towards the Evo 3D. Worth it? Absolutely. This phone makes everything about Android so much more enticing.

App Attack: Flipboard

This is the first edition of App Attack, a headlining feature here on Digital Lust that will focus on giving you the scoop on the latest and greatest mobile apps. Today, I’ll be talking a little bit about Flipboard for iOS, the social aggregator that turns your social networking habits into a magazine. Let’s take a closer look!

The concept of Flipboard is very similar to other aggregation apps, like Pulse, for example. With Flipboard, everything turns into a magazine layout. For example, by logging into your Twitter page, you are able to view news stories that pop up in your feed as if they were a page out of today’s issue of The Daily. The layouts are incredibly clean, and the end result is unlike anything else I’ve played with thus far.

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In the above image, you see my Twitter feed, shown in the aforementioned magazine layout. You can see a news story from a Disney fan site, but instead of showing it as a link, it shows the story. Clicking on that portion of the story will bring up a new window with the rest of the story. You can just click back and continue reading. You can also see all of the other updates in my feed on the sidebar (XL 106.7 got a little tweet-happy this morning). By swiping to the next page, you’ll see the next set of stories and tweets. Everything looks so clean, accessible, and easy to read–something that is becoming more and more necessary for a good app.

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Next, let’s take a look at the home screen (yes, this probably should have been covered first, but the Twitter functionality had me too excited). The home screen displays all of the subscriptions that you’ve added to your page. A simple click on these tiles will bring up all of the latest stories that have been posted. Anything with an RSS can be added, and there are plenty of other sites that are already built in. Your tiles on the home screen will update with an image of the latest story. In a sense, it kind of reminds me of Windows Phone 7. And finally, clicking on the More icon at the top right will bring up an entire list of feeds that you can add to your page. You can easily add existing feeds that are already supported, or you can search for your own and add them that way. Hint: Add Digital Lust to your Flipboard!

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As I mentioned above, the manner in which Flipboard displays your news is very much like a magazine layout. A white background dominates the app, giving it a much cleaner and presentable appearance. Images appear large and crisp, and text shows up in a way that is extremely easy to read. Viewing in either Portrait or Landscape mode is equally the same, with Portrait giving you more of the content at once.

In this new era of the Internet, app inventors are really looking to get users away from their browsers and spend more time in-app. Apps like Flipboard are the easiest way to get your news together, and this one will definitely be a hit for years to come. At a price of free, it makes it even more worth the download. Flipboard is available on iPad.

Welcome to Digital Lust!

Welcome to Digital Lust! This is a blog that focuses on many aspects of the digital world as we know it today–movies, music, gadgets, and gaming, to name a few. Our world is quickly evolving into something spectacular, and I’m here to give you the latest and greatest.

A little bit about the history of Digital Lust (yes, it actually does have a history prior to being hosted here on WordPress). This was a blog project that I began on Blogger.com back in the summer of 2004 (actually, to be more specific, it launched 7 years ago today). The blog covered essentially what it will today. I later merged it into another blog that I had owned at the time called That One Blog. From 2005 to 2008 when I shut down That One Blog, Digital Lust lived on in a regular weekly feature that earned the highest traffic ratings of any other postings on the site.

And then…life intervened. At the time that I shut down the blog, I was in the middle of going through college, and it became extremely difficult to manage a blog and write papers for school at the same time. I closed the blog, with pure intentions of relaunching some form of it when I finished school.

Fast forward to today, and I’m ready to do just that. Since Digital Lust was my highest rated feature, I decided to yet again expand on that concept and make it its own blog. The only difference in the concept between old-school Digital Lust and new-school Digital Lust is how quickly our technological world has evolved in just a matter of 3 short years! The majority of the content that you will find here on the all-new Digital Lust will come from the mobile world. I will be doing a majority of the blogging on this site from my trusty iPad, or, if it is something geared towards the Android fan base, I’ll be blogging that from my amazing HTC Evo 3D (which will get a full review in an upcoming post). Expect reviews of the hottest apps and software, movie reviews, game reviews, YouTube hits, and a whole lot more. My ambition for the all-new Digital Lust is quite spectacular, and I can’t wait to get feedback and make this site as successful as my last.

For now, I’m going to work on building the site up. For now, be sure to follow me on Twitter @DigiLust. I may even have a couple of posts up today. I’m definitely looking forward to your feedback, so if you have any suggestions for how to make the blog better, you can even shoot me an email at digi.lust@gmail.com.

See you soon!