After many months of teasing and beta testing, Google have today finally released their long awaited news reader, Currents.
Reminiscent of the popular iPlatform reader Flipboard, Google Currents allows you to add your favourite blogs and rss feeds, and have them arranged and readable in a beautiful magazine layout.
Best of all, it’s free!
You can add your favourite feeds or can choose Google Trending which is updated hourly and arranged by Google to give you all the top news on subjects that interest you.
With Currents Producer you can even setup your own free magazine published by Currents.
Grab it now HERE or Hit the scan
The Bring Your Own Device movement is not new, however with small business now having equal access to the Cloud as its larger competitors, BYOD should now be considered alongside that cloud takeup.
What Is BYOD?
Quite simply the notion behind Bring Your Own Device is simple. Rather than our Gen Y and now Millenials being expected to perform on something that belongs in a museum, they may choose to bring to work their own iPad, Macbook Pro or other device of choice to work on.
Said Gen Y and Millenials argue they will be more content and more productive working on their pride and joy gadget, and also have the flexibility of working out of hours – bonus. Or is it?
Why, and Why Not To BYOD
The advantages of BYOD far outweigh the disadvantges.
Some things to consider are this: Security, Support and Insurance claims. Should said multi-thousand dollar device be damaged whilst at the workplace or being used for work purposes, who’s policy will cover the replacement? Your insurance broker should be able to tailer a BYOD package to suit.
Your IT department will need to broaden their knowledge outside of the simple PC / Server architecture, however for Gen Y and now Millenial Network Admins, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. You could always lock the choices down to a few devices to keep things manageable.
Access at its most crudest could be kept to a secure Remote Desktop Connection, only allowing connection to the device and user account in the allowed hours of operation. Best Practice Active Directory management would ensure User Access is also restricted.
As Public and Private cloud environments gain increasing traction, the argument of access and reliable provision of services becomes almost nul and void.
Cloud Vendors do need to be Brand Agnostic in their rollouts though for maximum market penetration.
Cashflow Positive Initiative
Another benefit to the small business owner is cashflow. Whether or not you choose to provide employees with an allowance, per Kraft in the USA (who gives their employees a Device Stipend), or not depends on your requirements and BYOD Policy.
There is a real advantage to work with your employee here and show you really are an avant-garde employer.
Why not come to a Salary Sacrifice arrangement with your employee (seek Tax Advice first!), then offer to rent the device back from your Employee?
Or simply pay your Employees a Technology Allowance so they can buy the latest tech of choice safe in the knowledge the Allowance will cover the costs. The Employee simply claims the cost of the gadget in their personal income tax return (again seek Tax Advice first!).
However, the Australian Taxation Office have declared that iPads have substantially the same functionality as laptops hence would be treated the same as laptops in tax claims.
So what are you waiting for, you’ve implemented some cloud technologies, you’re considering moving to Private Cloud, now take the final step and outsource your hardware to your Employees. They will love you for it.
There has been a lot of talk in the media lately of Google producing a $199 tablet.
Kogan have beat them to the game, and some. Announcing a super sale on their own range of Agora tablets, Kogan have delivered what sounds impossible – a 7″ Android tablet for just $99.00!
What do you get for $99 I hear you asking? Kogan list the following impressive array of features:
“The Kogan Agora 7″ Tablet PC is the best value Android tablet in the world! For a fraction of the cost of similar products, you get a bright capacitive touchscreen, HDMI output, microSD card input, Wi-Fi, and access to thousands of apps & games in the Android Market.”
The Kogan Agora 7″ Tablet PC Features:
• Android 2.3 Operating System
• Android Market with Thousands of Apps & Games (inc. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
• Built in Wi-Fi
• Read & Write emails with the Gmail or Email app
• Supports 720p HD Playback
• HDMI® video output
• 1 x miniUSB
• 1 x microSD Slot
• Desktop Widgets inc. Weather, Calendar, Clock, YouTube
• Media Player – Watch Movies, Listen to Music, Browse Photos
It’s not just the 7″ version that’s on sale either, the whole Agora range is currently hot.
To find out more, head over to Kogan’s Android page or hit the QR below
The Agora In Action:
Makers of the hugely popular cloud based services group, OnLive, have now brought mobile cloud gaming even more conveniently closer to us, with the news they have made changes to L.A. Noire to now include Tablet Touchscreen controls.
Want to play LA Noire on your tablet with OnLive, but don’t have the Universal Wireless Controller to hand?Rockstar has tweaked the detective game to add touchscreen controls for gaming on the move.
LA Noire’s new touchscreen controls are very similar to those for the recent mobile released of Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition – a virtual joystick for walking about, and virtual buttons to control the in-car accelerator, brake and handbrake. You can swipe to manipulate the camera position, plus there are new virtual buttons for LA Noire’s unique features, like Cole Phelps’ journal and your in-car siren.
All pretty standard stuff for touchscreen controls – but handy for cloud gaming on the move, if you don’t want to pack a Universal Wireless Controller. The touchscreen controls should be live on the OnLive version of LA Noire now, if you want to try them out.
Source: PC Authority
Without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite device from MWC 2012 was the 3 in 1 Asus Padfone.
In case you have been in Canadian Wilderness under a rock for the last year or so, the Asus Padfone is a Phone, Tablet, and Transformer; in the one device.
The tablet cleverly pops out a docking bay, for the phone, which powers the tablet (and gets recharged at the same time), then the tablet docks into the keyboard, becoming a Transformer, and also helping itself to a recharge thanks to the keyboard dock’s extra large battery concealement.
Maybe this is the truest personification of the Transformer title that Asus has produced yet.
Information on the Padfone’s arrival into Australia is hard to come by at the moment, however here are some of what we do know.
The full list of specs for the phone half of ASUS’ Padfone:
- WCDMA 900/2100MHz
- EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- HSPA+ 21/5.76Mbps (42Mbps Optional)
- Android 4.0 (ICS)
- Snapdragon S4 (dual-core Krait) with Adreno 225 GPU
- 1GB LPDDR2 RAM + 16 – 64GB eMMC NAND
- 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB 2.0
- 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD (960 x 540)
- Rear Camera: 8MP F2.2, AF with LED Flash
- Front Camera: VGA
- Motion sensor, proximity light sensor, gyro sensor, e-compass
- 1520mAh Li-ion
- microSD expansion slot (SDHC/SDXC up to 32GB)
- Dimensions: 128mm x 65.4mm x 9.2mm
- Weight: 129g
When docked in the tablet, the Padfone gains the following new specs:
- Micro USB + Micro HDMI
- 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display with Capacative Touch
- Rear Camera: 8MP (via Padfone rear camera)
- Front Camera: 1.3MP (1280 x 800)
- Vibration sensor, 2 color LED indicators for battery status
- 24.4Whr Battery
- 2-in-1 audio jack, 40-pin connector
- Dimensions: 273mm x 176.9mm x 13.65mm (h-average)
- Weight: 724g
Asus Padfone certainly takes the crown as The Mighty Allrounder. Follow us closely as we bring you up to the minute news on the Padfone’s release.
You know you want one right? The Padfone also eliminates the issue of buying a 3G version or WiFi version of your favourite table, and no tethering needed!
Watch this space.
We all know just how productive, flexible and adaptive Android is. However, Casio are about to change things in a big way in the Retail and Hospitality sectors, with the introduction of a purpose built POS (Point of Sale) station, running entirely on Android.
Having its base OS built on Android gives Casio a lot of flexibility for both remote access and future applications. The station is not as susceptible to viruses or Windows slow downs either.
The system will also take reservations and create customer databases. It’s based on Android 2.2 and runs an ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor at 533MHz and ships with a web browser, email client, and other productivity apps pre-installed (including the cash register software). We are unsure at this stage whether the Google Play store is accessible or not.
Fancy some Angry Birds in between customers? Facebooking when on shift? Never! How about updating that WordPress blog from your Retail POS station?
Jokes aside, this is an exciting development for the future of Android in the Commercial World, and we applaud Casio for this.
Not content to stop there though, Casio are releasing a ruggedised Android POS Tablet!
Yes you heard right! Take POS around your Store, walk with your customers and dial up those sales on the go.
Casio are promising two shifts per charge, so there must be some heavy duty batteries back there.
The VX Tablet is expected to be available in fall of 2012.
From Casio itself
London, March 13, 2012 —Casio has announced the launch of its new cloud services Casio Business Portal and the VX Tablet, its first AndroidTM platform tablet computer. This follows the recent launch of Casio’s VX-100 Android platform EPOS terminal.
The new Casio Business Portal will offer retailers limitless opportunities to take advantage of Android’s application-based platform. The business portal will provide retailers with on-demand, low-cost Apps and services, as well as the opportunity to trial applications and to roll-out with a phased programme. Retailers are free to create their own Apps, increasing ways to interact with customers, upsell, generate new revenue streams and handle stock control more efficiently.
Potential App ideas include mobile phone receipts instead of paper receipts, electronic discount vouchers and SMS marketing direct from the local EPOS device. Remote management of the VX-100 point-of-sale terminal can be achieved from anywhere in the world using automated email access. Signing up to the Casio Business Portal allows a retailer to consider a packaged hardware and software solution, which is tailored specifically to their retail store requirements. Combining this with direct access to a wide choice of software integrators will provide a very versatile solution that can develop and grow with the retail business.
Benefits of the new business portal from Casio include
· Providing retailers with more, on-demand, low-cost apps and services
· A versatile solution with mobile hardware taking the POS to the consumer
· Minimal initial investment with a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
· Retailers can add new applications when required, and as budget is available
· Special customer promotions for upselling and attachment sales
· Promotes customer loyalty and sales growth
· It decreases operating costs and increases bottom-line profits
The launch of the new Casio VX Tablet will give retailers the power to take service direct to the customer. Highlights of the VX Tablet include:
· A tough ruggedized chassis making it both drop and splash proof
· Large 10.1 inch colour touch screen
· Full complement of communication options with integrated GPS for accurate positioning
· Long battery life designed for extensive overlapping work shifts in retail
Computer tablets can be delicate objects; however, the Casio VX Tablet is rugged and especially designed for the store front-of house operations.
Guy Boxall, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Casio explains, “The possibilities of using an AndroidTM platform tablet in an EPOS scenario are almost entirely unexplored. Together with the release of the Casio Business Portal, this is especially exciting for the high street retailer today. As the consumer market has seen with mobile phones, there is huge potential for a greater range of EPOS apps and services to help the retail sector.”
Casio is already working with a good selection of software integrators within the retail sector and looking forward to meeting more at the Retail Business Technology Expo.
The new Business Portal and Android TM platform tablet from Casio can be seen at the Retail Business Technology Expo, at London Earl’s Court, 13-14th March 2012.
The Casio VX Tablet will be available in the autumn of 2012.”