Well, it looks like you still won’t be able to actually make calls over WiFi, but Verizon Android users can now at least keep their WiFi connection active while using Skype Mobile — something that was curiously not possible before. That’s just one of the improvements in the latest version of the app (also updated for BlackBerry), which also includes features like incoming caller ID, support for copy and paste and emoticons in IM conversations, and the ability to automatically set your location as your mood message.

This post has been written by Donald Melanson on Sep 2nd 2010 1:03PM couresy of engadget.com.

Apple became the biggest fish in the very small touchscreen tablet pond when it launched the iPad this past spring. But more fish will arrive starting mid-month when Samsung launches its Galaxy Tab mobile device in Europe (US and Asia will get it "in the coming months"). After being rumored and teased for weeks, Samsung officially unveiled its entry into the burgeoning market at the IFA show in Germany on Thursday.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 7" widescreen touch tablet powered by Android 2.2. The Tab will use the same TouchWiz UI used on Samsung’s line of Galaxy S smartphones, which gives it a very iOS-like look and feel. Also following the iPad’s lead, the device has a metal back, black bezel, bottom speakers, and even a 30-pin connector.

At the heart of the device is the same 1GHz ARM processor and PowerVR GPU core that powers the Galaxy S phones, and is in most respects equivalent to Apple’s A4 processor. It also includes 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and 3G connectivity; assisted GPS capabilities; accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer sensors; and comes with either 16GB and 32GB of built-in flash storage.

However, there are a few areas where the Galaxy Tab separates itself from the iPad. The display is a 1024 x 600 pixel, 7" diagonal 16:9 wide touchscreen. The smaller size makes the overall device smaller, and at under 5" wide it’s almost pocketable. The smaller size also gives the device a higher pixel density of 171ppi versus the iPad’s 132ppi, though its widescreen orientation does sacrifice screen real estate. Those that primarily use the device for viewing HD content, however, will really appreciate this design choice.

The device also includes both rear- and front-facing cameras; the iPad’s omission of cameras has been heavily criticized. At the rear is a 3MP autofocus camera with LED flash, while on the front is a 1.3MP fixed focus camera. In addition to stills, the Tab can record 720 x 480 resolution video.

To expand storage, the device accepts up to 32GB MicroSD cards.

On the software side, the Tab includes the mobile version of Flash 10.1—Apple’s iOS devices famously lack Flash compatibility—but the jury is still out on whether that is a benefit or not. It’s compatible with a wide variety of audio and video formats for media playback, including being the first DiVX-certified tablet. Like Samsung’s other Galaxy devices, it features the innovative Swype soft keyboard. And Samsung is targeting the popularity of the iPad as a full-color e-reader by including a Kobo-developed "Readers Hub" which is compatible with ePub, PDF, Kobo, and Adobe DRM’d content, including books, magazines, and newspapers. By virtue of running Android 2.2, it also includes all the Google apps like Navigation and Latitude, and can access software from the Android Marketplace.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is the first in a number of Android tablets that have been announced or rumored for release late this year or early next year. Samsung has not yet announced pricing, exact ship dates, or carrier partners for 3G data service, but it says the device will first launch in Europe in mid-September, to be followed by US and Asia sometime later this year.

This post has been written by Chris Foresman on September 2, 2010 11:30 AM couresy of arstechnica.com.

For those keen to avoid raping and pillaging music from the nearest torrent site, a one-stop shop where unlimited DRM-free music can be bought for next to nothing must be a great attraction. Zaptunes, a new site advertising just that, has been making headlines this week. Trouble is, everything about it is a scam.

A few days ago various news outlets reported on the existence of Zaptunes, a new site offering DRM-free MP3 downloads for $25. Zaptunes claimed to have 8 million tracks available from the Big Four labels and untold others. As a nice introductory offer, Zaptunes offered their services free for 30 days. Nice.

Yesterday Hypebot had an email exchange with Zaptune’s media spokesperson Anand Patel who said that the site’s downloads “had been licensed from the appropriate major and indie labels.” But Zaptunes also says it offers music from The Beatles, an Internet impossibility as we all know.

“We have a contract with Sony Music, who hold the rights to most of the Beatles music,” said Patel. “I am sorry, but right now I can not give you more details about this contract.”

That’s because there is no contract and Mr Patel is mistaking people for fools. Here’s a short list of 13 unlucky reasons why (be sure to check out number 12 especially) and feel free to add more in the comments, there are dozens.

1. Zaptunes.com claims to be a San Francisco, CA based start-up. “With about $5 million in funding from various Venture Capitalists, we have steadily grown and made a strong foothold in the music industry,” they claim.

In fact, Zaptunes appeared just a few weeks ago on July 19th and despite $5 million in funding still begged people on Twitter to advertise for them with a tempting $10,000 prize due to be paid out August 22nd. No winners yet? We are surprised….

Tip: Try speaking to the press Zaptunes, they advertise your product for free….

2. Zaptunes isn’t confident that they’ll be around long. They registered their domain on July 19th 2010 – it expires on the same date next year. There’s stability for you.

3. Even though TheBeatles Twitter account with 109,000 followers follows the Zaptunes Twitter account, that doesn’t mean Zaptunes is legit, it just means people are keeping an eye on them. Zaptunes says it offers Beatles tracks. It does not.

4. Zaptunes promotes the availability of Eminem tracks, even though it has none. Zaptunes copied its entire Eminem fact page from an article they found using Google.

Their latest blog post was ripped from Last.fm and the one below that is ripped from MusicByDay. In fact, none of their posts are their own work.

Last.fm content is very popular on Zaptunes – it seems that much of the album art is ripped from there.

5. Other dodgy domains connect to Zaptunes.com including CaptainSam.com, which was registered by Tarandeep Singh Gill living at the rather official sounding 1 Something Road, Some City, California 94127. Even more reassuring is the Zaptunes.co.tv domain which also links to ZapTunes.com and is registered to ‘person surname’ living in ‘londra, GB’ – wherever that is.

6. Zaptunes says it offers tracks for free from the major labels. Anyone with any knowledge of the Big Four know full well that they never, ever give their music away en masse.

7. Zaptunes says it has a unique business model which enables it to offer unlimited downloads. None of the big labels together agree to unlimited downloads on a download service at any price.

8. Zaptunes’ search engine suggests they offer both unreleased tracks and a selection of bootlegs. The major labels love this kind of thing from their partners.

9. Despite all the claims, Zaptunes doesn’t offer ANY music whatsoever. From its own site:

ZapTunes.com does not provide any downloads from its servers. ZapTunes.com just enables its members to find free or paid music available on the Internet. The Artists/Tracks displayed on the home page and other parts of the website are for promotional purposes only and may not be available for free or paid download.

ZapTunes.com has a database of websites that offer free and legal music downloads. Whenever a registered members looks for a song, ZapTunes searches for that song in the database, and if it finds a website offering a legal download of that song, it is displayed it to the user. If not, then ZapTunes looks for that song on Amazon, iTunes and various other paid to download websites, and displays the user their options. ZapTunes is not helping or promoting piracy in any way.

10. ZapTunes says its name is a registered trademark. Our searches with the United States Patent and Trademark Office drew a big blank.

11. Most of the site’s Privacy Policy was cut-and-pasted from here and the ‘Terms of Use‘ on ZapTunes should be read very, very closely. Anyone giving over their credit card details could be in for a very nasty surprise. DON’T DO IT!

12. Another URL that redirects to Zaptunes is http://www.24hfunds.com. Readers of this discussion thread on TalkGold will see that by page 6, the scheme promoted by its owner was deemed to be a scam. A search on Google for ’24hfunds and scam’ turned up 5,000 results.

13. Those unlucky enough to have given their details over already will see charges on their credit card account from TrackYourPics.com – the following is currently displayed on their site, spelling errors intact:

“Did you see a charge on your credit card with TRACKYOURPICS.COM? It is because you either signed up on trackyourpics.com or ZapTunes.com. All the subscriptions have been cancelled, so you will not see any furher charges on your credit card. Also, we are in the process or reversing the charges already made.”

TrackYourPics is registered to an address in San Francisco, California. Google seems to think that location is a drain cover.

A fitting place for Zaptunes. Stay well away.

This post has been written by enigmax on September 01, 2010 couresy of torrentfreak.com.

This post has been written by Kyle Thibaut on September 1, 2010 couresy of techcrunch.com.

Massively Speaking Episode 113 is back with Shawn and Rubi as they’re joined by Ben Lavery of Maverick Media. Ben details more about his time at Gamescom, including impressions of each interview we see in the two videos his crew shot for Massively. We also discuss some news and more info on our PAX and Dragon*Con meet-ups this weekend!

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to shawn@massively.com. Maybe we’ll read your letter on the air!



Get the podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.

[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.

[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.


Show Notes For Massively Speaking Episode 113

Hosts:

Topics:

This post has been written by Shawn Schuster on Sep 1st 2010 at 1:00PM couresy of massively.com.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncherMany Android devices ship with a default home screen launcher that, frankly, kind of sucks. The good news? You can install a new launcher offering better shortcuts, more home screens, and extra configuration options. Here’s the lowdown on the most popular options.

We recently discussed how to streamline your Android home screen and how to install a new home screen launcher. While I personally recommended LauncherPro, many of you noted that you’re big fans of other launchers, and rightfully so—there are a few really good ones out there. Today, we’ll go through the most popular three, noting each one’s special features so you can decide which one’s right for you.

ADWLauncher

ADW is probably the most popular launcher out there, and is the default launcher of the very popular CyanogenMod custom ROM. It’s the best option if you want to seriously change your home screen, whether through organizational changes (like adding more shortcuts to each screen) or visually (by re-theming the entire thing).

Layout options: ADW offers numerous ways to re-organize your home screens. You can add up to 7 screens, which is pretty standard for a custom launcher, but if you need to fit even more shortcuts, ADWLauncher offers the ability to choose how many rows and columns of apps you want on your home screen—up to eight each—so you can squeeze in as many shortcuts as possible.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

If that’s a bit too extreme, you can also choose to just squeeze apps together in the app drawer. This way, your home screen stays tidy, but you have to do less scrolling when you need something in the drawer. You can also set the drawer’s background color, remove app labels (so you only see the icons), and tone down the 3D graphics effects.

Usability options: ADW has packed a pretty large number of actions into its system preferences, to which you can assign different shortcuts. For example, you can re-assign the home button to show a preview of all your home screens, open a specific app, or hide the notification bar.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

Furthermore, ADW has a few gestures built-in to which you can bind these actions. For example, by default, swiping up on the screen shows and hides the notification bar, and swping down shows the notifications drawer.

Themes: One of ADW’s biggest draws is themability. It doesn’t get much easier to theme your phone than with ADW’s built-in engine—just download a theme from the Market (they usually range from free to about a dollar or so) and select it in ADW’s preferences. It will change everything from your wallpaper, icons, and miscellaneous UI settings to give your phone a completely new look. Lots of themes contain icons for popular Market apps, too, so it won’t just be your pre-installed Google apps that get themed—apps like Barcode Scanner and Shazam will often fit in too.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

Performance: While many experience good performance from ADW, I (along with many others) find that it’s the worst of the bunch in terms of speed and stability. It can be a bit sluggish, and I’ve even had a few force closes on it in the past. However, it also provides so many options that it may be worth it for some, and some of those options can actually help performance (like turning down the zoom effects in the app drawer). You’ll just have to try it for yourself and see how well it works for you, but be warned that all this customization may come at a small price.

LauncherPro

LauncherPro is my personal favorite, as it offers quite a few extra preferences and incredible performance (in my experience). It also offers a tiny bit of themability for those that have that itch, though you won’t be able to theme the entire UI; you can only change the dock. LauncherPro comes in a free version and a $2.99 version, the latter of which features some extra widgets and widget settings. I pay for the premium version primarily to support the developer, but the extra widgets—though easy to go without—are still nice.

Layout options: Like other launchers, LauncherPro lets you choose how many home screens you want, but it also offers a few other options. Like ADWLauncher, you can choose how many apps shortcuts fit in each row, though you can only do it for the app drawer itself. You can choose to organize apps in five shortcut rows on the home screen though, but that’s as far as it goes. If you’d like to, you can also hide icon labels, so you only see icons on the home screen and not the names of the apps below them.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

One of LauncherPro’s best features, however, is removing apps from the app drawer. Thus, you can hide the crapware that comes with your phone, or hide apps that you want running in the background but don’t want cluttering up your drawer. Of course, if you need to edit their settings later on, you can always un-hide them with just a few taps.

Usability options: The dock is the center of attention in LauncherPro, where most of the customizability happens. LauncherPro’s dock is scrollable, themeable, and has a few goodies in there that can make your life easier. It features five shortcuts along the bottom instead of the usual two, and you can scroll through multiple docks as well, giving you a total of 15 shortcuts along the bottom of your screen.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

LauncherPro also has the usual usability enhancements, like enabling auto-rotation, choosing an action for the home key, and hiding the notification bar. In addition, if you put something like Gmail or Messaging in the dock, you can enable dock badges for those apps, so you know how many unread message you have in each.

Theming: While you can’t theme the entire home screen like in ADW, you can do your fair share of visual customization on the dock. LauncherPro’s default icons are white, somewhat transparent versions of Android’s original icons, and they look pretty good—but you can also use the default Android icons if you prefer. You can even add your own from your phone’s SD card, meaning you can make it look like whatever you want. Furthermore, if LauncherPro doesn’t contain an icon for a certain app, you can find LauncherPro-style icons for other apps around the net.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncher

You can also change how the dock itself looks. By default it’s invisible, but you can add a nice 3D glass, iOS-type dock (shown above), or a dock similar to the default Froyo launcher if you prefer.

Battle of the Android Home Screen Launchers: ADW vs. LauncherPro vs. HelixLauncherWidgets: If you decide to purchase the full version of LauncherPro, you get a few large, SenseUI-like widgets for your contacts, calendar, bookmarks, and SMS messaging. Furthermore, you can resize any widgets (including the non-LauncherPro widgets) so they fit your layout better. Note that this resizing feature doesn’t stretch the widget itself, but resizing a 3×4 widget to 4×4 will merely center it on the screen so it doesn’t look awkward.

Performance: Despite its remarkable number of features, LauncherPro is fast. If you have a particularly old phone and find it a bit sluggish, you can still turn down some of the extra UI enhancements, but I’ve found that even with all of them turned on, it’s one of the most responsive launchers around. Scrolling through the app drawer is so smooth it’s an almost iPhone-like experience, so you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for good performance.

HelixLauncher

HelixLauncher is an interesting case at the moment, as development has slowed down as of late. HelixLauncher is a much more minimal launcher; the only things you really get with it are four dock shortcuts and extra home screens. That’s not to say it’s not worthy of a look—the main focus of HelixLauncher is speed and stability. If you have an older phone that can’t quite handle the more feature-filled launchers, HelixLauncher will probably give you pretty good performance. It’s best for those that may want a bit more than the default launchers offer, but don’t want to have to dig through a ton of settings to get them—they just want the same old launcher, but a little faster and with a few extra home screens.

As of right now, HelixLauncher is free in the Market, but only works on 2.1-based phones. Of course, depending on your phone, you might still be waiting on 2.2 for awhile, so HelixLauncher will hold you over until Froyo adds that long-awaited speed boost to your phone (perhaps even enough of a boost to handle one of the more advanced launchers). The developer is moving slowly on HelixLauncher at the moment, but he hasn’t discontinued it yet, so this is one to keep an eye on for the future.


There isn’t really a "best" launcher; it’s all about what you want from your phone. If you want extensive themability, ADW is probably the right one for you. If you don’t need quite as much customizability, but still would like some extra settings, LauncherPro is worth a look. Don’t be afraid to try more than one, either—they’re all free and available in the Market, so you don’t have to jump through any hoops to try them out. Of course, many of you have already gone through this process, and we haven’t exhausted every single feature of each launcher here, so let us know which one is your favorite and why in the comments.

This post has been written by Whitson Gordon on Sep 1, 2010 09:00 AM couresy of lifehacker.com.

Playstation Podcast: I Like to Move It, Move It Stephen Totilo and I have spent the past week (and one very, very long night) playing, stress-testing and examining the Playstation Move. Do you have any questions for us?

We’re going to be chatting about the Sony tech live on today’s episode of Kotaku Talk Radio. We’ll also be sure to break in with any big news that comes out of Apple’s press conference today.

And don’t forget to give us a ring — or listen live.

The weekly Kotaku Talk Radio podcast kicks off at 11:00 AM mountain time (1:00 PM ET) on Wednesday.

Call us on the air LIVE at (877) CHAT-212 or use Skype to dial in! You can also pick up a nifty, and free, iPhone App to listen to the show live here.

Listen to the Live Streaming Radio Station

Non-U.S. listeners, use the feed below…

Live TV : Ustream

And don’t forget to subscribe to "Kotaku Talk Radio" in iTunes to check out past interviews with the likes of Sid Meier, David Jaffe, Amy Hennig, Ken Levine, Tim Schafer, Greg Zeschuk, Todd Howard, Cliff Bleszinski, Jeremiah Slaczka, Jeff Gerstmann, Jordan Thomas, Stig Asmussen, Major Nelson and Randy Pitchford.

We’ll also continue to provide direct downloads of the show a couple of hours after showtime each Wednesday.

This post has been written by Brian Crecente on Sep 1, 2010 11:00 AM couresy of kotaku.com.