Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 7, 2011

Slow news day today! No breaking news or anything like that. Heres just a couple of quick stories that we saw today:

Wii U Will Launch After April 1, 2012
Nintendo spokesman Reggie Fils-Aime said today that the Wii U will not launch any earlier than April 1, 2012. He did not specify any other details about the new console, which features new HD graphics and a touch screen controller. He did mention, however, that the console will sell alongside the DSi, the Wii, and the 3DS.

Google Docs Gets Refresh, New YouTube in Testing
Ever since the launch of Google+ last week, Google has been working to give it’s different services a new, uniform look that matches the new social network. Gmail got the refresh a few days ago, and now, Google Docs has gotten the treatment, making it easier and cleaner than ever. It’s also been reported that a new interface for YouTube is currently in testing. More details as they become available!

Google+ Giveaway Sees Biggest Day Ever!
Thank you to everyone who participated in today’s Google+ Giveaway. Anyone who posted a comment today received a shared story, which will get you an invite. The giveaway will continue tomorrow, but as I will be away from my computer all day tomorrow, I will not send those until late tomorrow night. Again, all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog(make sure that your Gmail account is in your profile before submitting!), and I will send you one!

Honestly, thats it for today. I will be taking tomorrow off for the (hopeful) launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, maybe returning tomorrow night for a couple of quick things. Enjoy your Friday!

Netcasting: The Next Big Thing?

One thing that absolutely influenced my decision to relaunch Digital Lust was my reintroduction to Leo Laporte and all of his friends. Leo, former host of The Screen Savers and Call for Help on the defunct TechTV, is a technological celebrity–the man loves his gadgets, and will learn everything about them in order to teach his followers. And quite a few of those he has.

After TechTV and G4 merged back in 2004 to form G4TechTV (which later became just G4 once again), Laporte opted out of his contract, and thus a revolution began. Call for Help saw cancellation, and The Screen Savers turned into Attack of the Show, which still airs today on G4. Leo continued to host a Canadian version of Call for Help, but that too eventually saw cancellation. Leo was practically out of the spotlight, except for his website.

And then, in 2006, as podcasting started to become more and more popular, Leo launched This Week in Tech, a weekly podcast hosted by Leo himself and some of his industry friends. The show became so popular, that an entire channel’s worth of shows had began being developed, right from Leo’s cottage in San Francisco, as part of his new Twit.TV service (Twit stands for This Week in Tech, the show that started it all).

Today, Leo Laporte’s netcasts are more popular than ever. Twit.TV is bigger than ever, set to relaunch in an all new, million-dollar studio later this month. He has the advertisers and the support of his community, something that all television outlets seek to achieve. His shows are available to watch on any Roku device. They’re downloadable on iTunes. You can watch them live. Leo Laporte is onto something, if you ask me. What started as a simple radio show on the Internet has evolved into something much greater than that. In essence, it is almost as if TechTV has been reborn, this time without the use of cable. Could we see more of this in the coming years?

Absolutely. In today’s age, the term “digital streaming” is key to success. As all of the major networks are finding out, making content available online is essential to keeping your demographics in check with their favorite programs. The cost of operating an online-only “network” and streaming it through different capacities is much less than the hassle of being part of a television network.

There is another example of a great netcasting “network” that I can’t ignore–Revision3. Revision3 was started by Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com, and another former alumnus of TechTV’s The Screen Savers. While Twit.TV appeals to more of the “looking for help” crowd that Laporte has always been so excellent at serving, Revision3 appears geared at a younger demographic, possibly targeted at the 18-25 male category. Both Twit.TV and Revision3 are shining examples of what different studios can hope to accomplish in the future. Studios and networks could save plenty of money by offering their shows via Internet and not through cable.

What does this mean for consumers? As the cost of cable rises and people are paying more for services that they are using less, I believe that both Twit.TV and Revision3 are going to continue to soar, and provide other companies the vision where we can live in a world without cable–where people can watch only what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. With the mobile industry booming, it is becoming more appealing to have the ability to take your shows on the go. It will be quite some time before people ditch their cable services completely–but it is starting to look more and more like a reality.

It will certainly be amazing to see how this plays out in the next few years–but if you ask me, cable TV is doomed.

HTC Evo View 4G Review

Today, I snuck by Best Buy to get a quick run-through with the all new HTC Evo View 4G. The new tablet released on June 24th, the same day as Sprint’s new flagship device, the Evo 3D. The new, 7-inch tablet rocks a smooth, aluminum shell, and is incredibly lightweight. Will this tablet draw you away from the temptation of the iPad?

Unfortunately, as big of a fan of Android and the Evo line as I am, I really don’t feel that this tablet is all that impressive. It’s loaded with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the beautiful Sense 3.0 overlay on top of it. But to be completely honest, the smaller tablet idea just doesn’t do it for me. This thing feels tiny in comparison to the iPad, and if you’re ultimately looking at the Post-PC world, as I am, then this simply will not work for you.

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The Evo View 4G. The 7″ screen doesn’t feel big enough enough for me.

The basic concept of the View 4G is very similar to that of the Evo smartphone line that Sprint is working so hard to build. The tablet essentially feels like an oversized Evo 4G. In holding the device, it actually feels incredibly comfortable. I could only get the View to work in Landscape mode (I wasn’t sure if there was some kind of screen rotation lock that was activated). The tablet itself is relatively lightweight, which does give it a bit of the advantage over the iPad, but, as you’ll continue to see, the screen size is not a good sacrifice.

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For some reason, every time I flipped the tablet to portrait mode, it stayed in landscape.

Let’s talk a bit about the software. As I mentioned above, the View runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Sense 3.0 laid on top. Of course, Sense looks slightly different on the View, taking away the Rosie bar at the bottom and replacing it with quick launch buttons. I’m pretty disappointed with this. In a world where Android 3.1 Honeycomb is reigning supreme in the tablet world, having a new tablet release with Android 2.3 is pretty upsetting. HTC has said that the update is in the works, but has not specified when. Though I may be disappointed with this, Android 2.3 runs very smoothly with pretty much no lag.

The tablet came preloaded with some content, courtesy of the new HTC Watch service. I was able to watch a few seconds of the trailer for The Green Hornet. The quality of the video was pretty good, and it sounded good, but it felt really small to me. Even just those 2 inches more of screen space that the iPad has would have made it look all so much better.

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The video quality on the View was nice, although small. Excuse the glare.

One unique feature that the View has going for it is the new Scribe technology. I unfortunately did not get to test this out, but the concept is simple. You can purchase an $80 pen (yikes!) and have the ability to “write” on anything on the tablet. For $80, it seems ridiculously overpriced. If they can bring the price down dramatically, I think they might be onto something with this.

I really want to love the View. I’ve been a huge fan of all of the HTC Android devices, and this one came across as a total disappointment. Maybe HTC just wasn’t ready to join the tablet revolution just yet. Whatever the case may be, I can’t recommend the View. For essentially the same price you can get an iPad with a larger screen, or a Xoom. But this one just isn’t worth it.

App Attack: Google+ (Android)

A disclaimer before beginning this edition of App Attack: As I reviewed it last week, I am currently using the HTC Evo 3D as my new phone of choice. The phone has yet to achieve a permanent root solution, and therefore, I am unable to take screenshots of the Google+ app without having some issues. As a result of this, I have pulled a couple of pictures from various different sources. My thanks go out to the following:

TechStuffs4U
AndroidShine
Pocket-Lint

And now, let’s get on with the review. As you’ve seen in my continuing coverage this week of everything Google+, this new service is poised to help redefine the social networking world by introducing a new set of features that are unlike any other. The Google+ app for Android has already been released, and, at first glance, looks a little bit like the Facebook app. There are only five buttons on the main menu, to access your Stream, your Photos, your Circles, your profile, and Huddle, the chat service offered on Google+. There is also a bar at the bottom to bring up your notifications. Everything on the main menu looks very clean, neat, and uncluttered. The icons are in that new, sophisticated Google styling that has come to life recently. In general, there is a lot less going on here than there is on the Facebook app, and I am completely okay with that. Let’s start to take a look at each of the different pages.

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The home screen on Google+ is incredibly simplistic. It’s very clean, and gets you exactly where you need to go very quickly.

Stream
Your stream is essentially the News Feed of Google+. In the main screen, you can view stories from people you have in your circles. One feature that seems to be missing here is the ability to select which circle you want to view–they all show up together. That functionality is something that they seem to be pushing on Google+, and to have that missing seems to be a little weird. Swiping to the left side of the screen reveals posts made by people that have added you, but you have not added to your circles. Swiping to the right side of the screen will show you posts from people in your immediate area, something that seems like a pretty cool addition. Even with my GPS off, I was still able to get posts based on a 10 mile radius from my house.

Posting onto your Stream is incredibly easy. Just click the pencil at the top right of the screen and you’re good to go. You can add photos or your location to a post, as well. There are also buttons at the top of the main stream page to just add a check-in or to add a photo. When posting, you do have the capability to just share with specific circles, which is definitely a nice feature.

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Your Stream. Swiping to the left side of the screen will pull up your Incoming posts, from people you have not added to your circles that have you in their circles. Swiping to the right will show posts from people in your area.

Huddle
I haven’t gotten to use Huddle for anything just yet, and I’m imagining that I probably won’t until after more people get signed in to Google+. The concept of it though is pretty simple. You can initiate a chat with any of your friends, or even entire circles. Its a really cool concept that seems very easy to use.

Photos
This is my favorite feature of the app so far. By bringing up the Photos section, you can view photos from within your circles (again, missing the option to filter based on circle). You can also view your photos, and do something called Instant Upload. I personally love this feature, as it was able to upload a picture from my phone to the service within a matter of seconds. When I tried this out, I uploaded 8 photos from a concert I recently went to into a Stream post, and they were all there within a couple of seconds. You can then view these photos on your Stream or in the photos section, under “Photos From Posts” under your albums.

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Photo viewing on Google+ is fast, simple, and clean. Just like everything else.

Profile
I won’t spend too much time talking about the profile features, as they aren’t too extremely different from Facebook. Your profile shows your posts, photos, and your About Me section. You can access the different features by the three buttons at the bottom. Posts are organized by time, and you can view who was able to see that post based on the circle they are in.

Circles
Circles are what really differentiate Google+ from other social networks. You can group people you’re connected with into different circles. You can then choose to share posts with different circles. This is especially a great feature if you’re working on a project for school or work and don’t want details getting to everyone. You can just choose to share it with whoever is within a specific circle. The one thing that I could not figure out is how to add email addresses from the app to be able to add to a circle. This is something pretty big right now as people are wanting invites (doing this from Safari on my iPad is sufficient enough, but incredibly slowwww). You can edit your circles in app, which is really nice. I want to see more functionality though when it comes to the circles in future installations of the app.

To summarize everything here, the app is not perfect yet, but, as a first version, it’s pretty damn close. The big deal with Google+ is the Circles feature, and I don’t feel like Google has completely implemented everything that they want to in regards to them. But again, as a first version of the app, it’s really, really good.

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Google+ Giveaway Resumes!

Greetings, internets!

I am happy to announce that the Google+ Giveaway will immediately resume. Last night, I reported that Google+ was now open for all to all with a Gmail account. This appears to no longer be the case, and entry to the site is purely based on invites once again.

I’ve changed the eligibility requirements quite a bit: To win an invite to Google+, all you need to do is post a comment within this post with a Gmail account that I can send the invite to. I will be giving away unlimited invites until the service goes live, so pretty much anyone who asks for one will receive one.

This altered version of the giveaway will resume immediately and go until Google opens the service to all. Invites will be sent all at once at the end of the day.

Stick around, my continuing coverage of Google+ continues with a new App Attack, where I’ll be looking at the Google+ Android app.

Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 6, 2011

Interesting news day today–not too many stories to share tonight, but definitely a couple of big ones in the social media world. Lets get right to it:

Facebook Announces Chat Revamp
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that beginning today, a new partnership between the social powerhouse and Skype has formed, giving Facebook an all new video chatting service in-browser. Zuckerberg also announced a new group chatting feature, as well as an easier to use chat interface. The changes went into effect today.

Google+ Goes Live For All With a Gmail Account
As long as you are the proud owner of a Gmail account, Google+ is now open for you. Various media are reporting tonight that the site has opened it’s hypothetical doors to everyone. Of course, we’ve been covering the launch of Google+ all week, and even kicked off a new Google+ Giveaway. With this new level of operation of the new social network, however, the contest has become irrelevant, and has been discontinued. Be sure to check out Digital Lust tomorrow for a rundown of the Google+ Android app.

And Speaking of Google+, No Privacy for You!
Google announced today that at the end of this month, any private Google+ pages will be deleted. The purpose of Google+ is to provide users complete access. You should still be able to hide some aspects of your profile, however, and any content that you do not want shown to the public can just be shared with specific people.

Angry Birds Movie in Development for 2014
David Meisel, the former head of Marvel Studios before the company was bought out by The Disney Corporation, will begin developing a new project based on the epic mobile game of the same name. This is pretty significant for the mobile world–this is the first time that a movie will be developed based on a mobile game. Should the project get the green light and proceed with development, it will release in 2014. Hopefully the Angry Birds franchise will have enough lasting power to make it still relevant in 3 years. Perhaps a Alfred Hitchcock style “Birds” plot will be appropriate for this movie?

Sony Announces PSN Pass
Sony has announced that starting this fall, in order to gain online access to new games, a PSN Pass will be required to be input before playing. This appears to be a new security feature that the company is putting into place following the recent hackings that kept the Playstation Network offline for a month. It was mentioned that if you buy the game preowned, you would have to purchase a Pass on the Playstation Store in order to gain access.

iPhone 5 to Launch in Q3, On Sprint too??
Sources indicate that the next iteration of the iPhone, reportedly titled the iPhone 5, will release sometime in Q3 (which is this quarter, by the way). Other rumors indicate that the phone will also launch on Sprint on the same time as Verizon and AT&T. This could get interesting, seeing as how Sprint is now the only major carrier left with an unlimited data plan. Will the AT&T faithful flock away from the network and head towards Sprint for the cheaper plans and unlimited data? Only time will tell…

And that about wraps it up for tonight’s edition of Digital Lust Daily Feed. Tomorrow on Digital Lust, I’ll be going in depth with the Google+ Android App in an all new App Attack. I’ll also be talking about the increasing popularity of net casting, specifically with Twit.TV. We’ll see you tomorrow!