Last week’s highlights #3

It’s Monday and time to recap the highlights from the last week:

Safari for Mac and PC: fast and elegant

While Internet Explorer may hold the top browsing seat in the Windows environment, it’s not the only browser choice available.  The browser wars may or may not be over, and choices now abound. If you’re looking for an alternative for your Windows platform, or have made a switch to OS X, then you’re going to want to take a look at Apple’s Safari browser. It’s one of the best browsers around, and like most, it’s free.

Safari is a great browsing alternative, and offers a great deal of features and functionality. The only down side that I’ve seen is that not all features are available to Windows users, though it is the default browser on all Apple Mac systems. On the Windows side, its security features and speed make it a worthy choice in replacement, or in addition to, any other browser you may currently use.

Download Safari for Windows | Download Safari for Mac

Internet Explorer drops below 50% of web usage

Even by the most generous estimates, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is used by barely 50% of Internet users worldwide, meaning that we are approaching or even past the point where most people aren’t using the browser. It’s been a shocking decline from the mid-1990s when as many as 95% of people were on IE. But the big story now isn’t Microsoft’s losses, but rather that it’s Google picking up much of the slack.

It’s important to note that the methods used to create browser market share figures vary from source to source. Most involve using website traffic logs which record the browser used by each visitor to a site. Some of the leading market share figure reports come from web analysis companies who get data from hundreds of thousands of clients, making a reasonably representative sample of the entire web, but this can vary. Still, even while the figures vary (and most sources already have Microsoft below 50%), the pattern is consistent

Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect is 1 year old

Microsoft’s Kinect system was designed simply to be a way for the Xbox 360 games console to compete with the Nintendo Wii for a family audience. But one year on it is among the fastest selling consumer gadgets ever as well as being adapted for a wide range of non-gaming uses.Kinect, originally known as Project Natal, came about after Nintendo revolutionized the gaming industry with its Wii motion control system that brought a whole new meaning to “pick up and play.” Suddenly TV news reports on gaming were no longer of stereotypical greasy-haired teen loners mastering intricate control systems: instead we had families playing together and even nursing home boxing contests.

10 years of Windows XP

It has now been a decade since Windows XP revolutionised the world of computers and on October 25 of this year the world’s most popular operating system turned ten years of age. Although the world has been flooded with wave after wave of new technology since the initial launch of Windows XP, the simple fact remains that Microsoft’s most successful and longest lasting operating system is not going anywhere, anytime soon. It is still the computer software of choice amongst millions of people and companies worldwide, and despite the hype and marketing surrounding Windows 7, Windows XP will still be used by many of us another ten years from now.
Let’s take a look at the beginnings of Windows XP, why it became so immensely popular, and why only a fool would bet against it still ruling the roost by the time it turns 20.

Nexus Prime – First Ice Cream Sandwich Smartphone

The Galaxy Nexus had the working title of Nexus Prime, taken from a backstory for the Transformers movie series. It’s an appropriate name as Google is hoping the device will continue to help Android transforming the smartphone market. The Nexus is produced by Samsung but will be specifically marketed by Google itself, following on from the Nexus One and Nexus S.

One of the key elements of the Galaxy Nexus is that it will be the first commercial phone to run Android 4.0, the latest edition of Google’s mobile operating system, with the odd marketing name of Ice Cream Sandwich (previous updates included Cupcake, Eclair, Gingerbread and Honeycomb.)

 

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Nexus Prime – First Ice Cream Sandwich Smartphone

The Galaxy Nexus had the working title of Nexus Prime, taken from a backstory for the Transformers movie series. It’s an appropriate name as Google is hoping the device will continue to help Android transforming the smartphone market. The Nexus is produced by Samsung but will be specifically marketed by Google itself, following on from the Nexus One and Nexus S.

One of the key elements of the Galaxy Nexus is that it will be the first commercial phone to run Android 4.0, the latest edition of Google’s mobile operating system, with the odd marketing name of Ice Cream Sandwich (previous updates included Cupcake, Eclair, Gingerbread and Honeycomb.)

The most significant development in Android 4.0 is that it is specifically designed to be suitable for both smartphones and tablet devices. That’s led to both an overhaul of the system’s design and a series of new and revised features that will feature on devices including the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus Prime.

The two most dramatic additions are both the stuff of sci-fi movies. There’s a voice recognition system that, although scooped by Apple’s new Siri feature, stands out by allowing unlimited dictation. Even more impressively it’s now possible to use a photo of yourself as the phone lock: facial recognition means that you and you alone can unlock the phone.

Speaking of the camera, the Nexus Prime will be able to use new features that include built-in image editing, the ability to take static images while filming video, and an automated panorama feature that means you simple move the camera round and don’t need to worry about lining up each “shot” so that they stitch together.

Using the Galaxy Nexus should be a breeze as Android 4.0 includes several revisions to the user interface, similar to the way Windows gets updated every few years. You can now organize apps and shortcuts into folders on the home screen, there’s a special favourites tray at the bottom of the screen (similar to the taskbar in Windows), you can adjust the size of widgets (displays of information such as weather updates or stock prices that are updated in real time), and there’s even a graphical display to show exactly how much data you are using — a must for those on contracts with tough data limits. Check the leaked video:

The Nexus Prime’s hardware makes the best of this update: it has two cameras, one which can record HD video, 16GB storage, a dual-core processor (which means fewer freezes or slowdowns), a true HD screen, and even the ability to connect the phone straight to a TV set through a special adaptor cable.

The phone’s unveiling was delayed briefly as a mark of respect after the death of Steve Jobs. It’s now scheduled for release in the UK on 17 November and, as with its predecessors, is only available in unlocked form: that means users must pay the full, unsubsidized price but don’t have to sign up to a mandatory service contract. The phone will be around £550 including VAT from major networks, though Amazon is selling it for £520.

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