Sorry, iPad Mini Fans–Once Again, Google Has The Better Tablet Than Apple

Robert Hof

*Update: On reflection and the reasonable comment of a reader, I changed the headline to say Google has the “better” tablet, not the “hotter” tablet. In contrast to a year ago, when Google’s new Nexus 7 got attention for its smaller form factor and sold out (admittedly on an undisclosed level of sales), we can’t yet say the new Nexus 7 is “hotter.” But most reviewers seem to lean toward calling it the better one at this point in time.

As soon as Google GOOG -0.26% announced its new Nexus 7 small tablet on July 24, the natural question emerged: How does it stack up against the Apple AAPL +0.55%‘s industry-leading iPad mini?

The answer, according to a number of reviewers: Pretty darn well. In fact, several reviewers place the Nexus 7 ahead of the iPad mini, and at least one recommends it over the iPad mini thanks to a combination of features that beat its rivals’:

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Superman to battle Batman in Man of Steel sequel

Sunday, Jul 21, 2013, 8:56 IST | Place: SAN DIEGO | Agency: Reuters

After announcing the plan to bring the two superheroes together, Snyder issued a statement via Warner Bros. saying the two would be fighting each other, and conceded this might surprise some.

A sequel to last month’s hit Superman film Man of Steel is not only in the works, but will feature two of DC Comic’s best-known caped crusaders – Superman and Batman – facing off against each other, director Zack Snyder said on Saturday.

Snyder, who directed British actor Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, was a surprise addition to the end of the Warner Bros. film panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con, an annual comics convention, and received thunderous applause from the 6,000-plus in attendance.


Weekend Report: ‘Man of Steel’ Soars, Scores New June Record

by Ray Subers

Man of Steel was one of the most-anticipated movie events of the year, and from a box office perspective it did not disappoint.

Through Sunday, Man of Steel earned a fantastic $128.6 million—$116.6 million during the traditional Friday-to-Sunday period, and another $12 million from Thursday night group sales. That’s the second-best opening of 2013 so far behind Iron Man 3, and it’s a new record for highest opening ever in June ahead of Toy Story 3 ($110.3 million). The official three-day figure of $116.6 million ranks second all-time among non-sequels behind The Hunger Games.

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Netflix, DreamWorks Team in Huge Original Content Deal

By Peter Suciu

Netflix may have just lost kid-friendly Nickelodeon content to Amazon Prime Instant Video, but now it’s got a new partnership with DreamWorks to fill that void. The result, apparently, will be more than 300 hours of brand-new programming inspired by characters from DreamWorks franchises including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

Video streaming service Netflix on Monday announced a new, multiyear partnership with DreamWorks Animation whereby it will bring many of the studio’s beloved characters to the TV market via a branded collection of shows.

Marking the largest deal for original first-run content in Netflix’s history, the partnership will include more than 300 hours of new programming and give DreamWorks Animation a way to greatly expand its TV production and distribution. In fact, this will be the first time DreamWorks Animation’s characters will be introduced into the television market in this way.

The new shows will be inspired by characters from DreamWorks Animation’s hit franchises — including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon — as well upcoming feature films. It will also incorporate the vast Classic Media library that DreamWorks acquired in 2012.

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Mozilla Readies Major Firefox Redesign As It Ponders What The Browser Of The Future Should Look Like

Frederic Lardinois

“Maybe we shouldn’t even call it a browser anymore,” Mozilla’s VP of Firefox engineering Jonathan Nightingale told me a few days ago. “‘Browser’ is really an antiquated word. People don’t really browse all that much anymore.” Instead, he argues, we now mostly use our browsers to access sophisticated web apps, web-based productivity tools and social networks.

For browser developers, this means they have to start to rethink what their browsers should look like now that usage patterns have changed and that the majority of users have become pretty experienced Internet (and browser) users.

Australis: Simplicity Through Curvy Tabs

The project that has been guiding Mozilla’s exploration of what a modern browser should look like is Australis (because Mozilla apparently likes to name projects after star systems) and the fruits of this project will soon find their way into the Firefox release channels, starting with Nightly once it hits version 25 soon. After that, it will make its way through the usual release channels, though Nightingale told me that the team may hold it back from the stable channel a bit longer to ensure that everything works smoothly.

If you feel really adventurous, you can already install a version of Firefox from Mozilla’s relatively obscure UX branch and test it in its current state (but don’t blame us if it crashes a lot or shreds your hard drive).

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Galaxy S4 Mini gives Samsung’s flagship a smaller sibling

The new Android phone has a smaller 4.3-inch screen and lower-end hardware, but it gets some of the higher-end model’s software.

by Stephen Shankland

Samsung announced its Galaxy S4 Mini on Thursday, delivering a smaller, lower-end cousin of its hot-selling high-end Android phone with a 4.3-inch screen.

The Korean electronics giant has been steadily pushing smartphone sizes larger, but not everyone is ready for a the 5-inch screen of a Galaxy S4. And the new model will ensure Samsung a place in the market for more cost-conscious buyers, though the company hasn’t yet said how much the device will cost or when it will go on sale.

Although the new phone has many of the S4’s software features — tools to take and organize photos, share content, translate text, and get travel assistance — the hardware is a step down.

The Mini model is lighter, at 3.8 ounces compared to 4.6 ounces for the S4 and packs a 1.7GHz dual-core processor instead of a 1.9GHz quad-core model. Its battery is rated at 1,900mAh instead of 2,600.

In addition, the S4 Mini has an 8-megapixel camera versus the S4’s 13 megapixels, although there’s a lot more to image quality than just pixel count.

“This new handset is the ideal smartphone companion for anyone who wants a compact device packed with innovation,” said Simon Stanford, vice president of the IT and mobile division for Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland.

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How Nintendo Can Win E3

By Steve Peterson

Is there really such a thing as ‘winning’ E3? There is the external victory of being the thing most talked about in the mass media, in the game media, and on social media. Those are really three different audiences: The broadest possible audience of anyone who sees, hears or reads news; the audience of gamers who are always interested in game news, and hardcore Nintendo fans. Then there’s victory internally for Nintendo, by whatever standards it chooses to set. Ultimately, it’s the votes cast by consumers in the form of spending that counts.

Nintendo is heading into this E3 in a difficult position. Sales of hardware and software have not been meeting the company’s projections. CEO Satoru Iwata has gone on record that he intends to deliver a billion yen in profits for Nintendo this fiscal year, and implied that he may step down if that’s not achieved. This puts Nintendo in a difficult position for marketing strategy, since any marketing spending has to return a profit within the fiscal year. No long-term brand-building here; Nintendo will be looking for marketing efforts that can produce solid short-term results.

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Eurovision: Denmark’s Emmelie De Forest Wins


Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her ethno-inspired flute and drum tune Only Teardrops.

There was tough competition from spectacular stage shows by performers from Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

But Bonnie Tyler, who represented Great Britain with Believe In Me, finished 19th out of the 26 acts performing in Malmo, Sweden, with 23 points.

Ireland’s entry, the dance track Only Love Survives by Ryan Dolan, came in last place with just five points.

Speaking after the votes came in, Welsh singer Tyler, 61, who topped charts around the world in her heyday, said despite her final score the experience had been “fantastic”.

She said: “I got the feeling tonight that I got at the Grammy awards. I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed on my behalf, but I have really enjoyed my Eurovision experience.

“I did the best that I could do with a great song. I don’t feel down and I’m ready to party.

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Is Apple’s Patent Rejection Good News for Samsung?

By Nathanael Arnold

Did the United States Patent and Trademark Office just hand Samsung (SSNLF.PK) more ammunition in the company’s patent-infringement battle against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)? The USPTO has issued a preliminary rejection of an Apple patent that covers a method for displaying translucent images over a base image.

This decision could negatively affect Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the South Korea-based smartphone maker. In April, the United States International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung had violated this particular patent by incorporating translucent buttons and a text selection feature into its Android-powered devices. Samsung has already forwarded the news of the USPTO’s decision to the ITC, reports FOSS Patents.

Apple’s patent, which is titled “Method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display,” was rejected by the USPTO based on certain claims which it found to be anticipated or obvious. The USPTO based part of its rejection argument on the existence of a patent from 1996 which covered a similar method for displaying a translucent keyboard on touchscreen displays.

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