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The problem with buying gadgets is that they’re bound to be obsolete at some point. But, as Laptop Mag’s Avram Piltch explains, that point is way sooner for some things than others. Here are 10 gadgets you should avoid like the plague right now, however tempting they might seem:

They say patience is a virtue, but like temperance and chastity, it’s not much fun. Unfortunately, if you want to reach a state of true techstasy, you may need to repress your desire to buy a new gadget today and wait for the next version to come out.

To be fair, sometimes now is the best time to buy a particular device and sometimes you drop your phone into a public toilet and have to replace it right away. But when you buy that 3G phone a month before its hot new 4G replacement comes out, you might as well buy an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt for your friends to wear when you go out together.

Here are 10 products you’d be a fool to buy today.


The iPhone

If you have your heart set on purchasing a new iPhone, don’t do it yet. Every rumor points to the arrival of a much-improved product arriving by fall. We don’t know what exact specs the iPhone 5 will have. We don’t even know if it’ll be called the iPhone 5(my money’s on “the Brand Spanking New iPhone”), but we can be pretty certain it will have 4G LTE, a faster processor, a better camera, and a larger and sharper screen.

While four or five months may seem like a long time to wait, most iPhone owners are on two year phone contracts that usually won’t allow them to upgrade until after 20 months. Do you really want to spend 2013 being known as the loser who has to “take a grenade” with Siri’s older, slower moving sister while your friends cozy up to the new model?


Windows Tablets

Let’s face the facts. If you want to buy a Windows 7 tablet, you’re either a multitouch masochist or a sadistic CTO, looking to pinch-zoom in on employee suffering. Though Windows 7 runs all the applications you could ever want, its touch-unfriendly interface makes it really difficult to use with adult-sized fingers. Ever try tapping the X widget to close a window? You’ll need to stick your index finger in a pencil sharpener first, so you can make sure it’s thin enough.

Coming this fall, Windows 8 offers a very touch-friendly Metro UI and a host of touch-friendly apps on top of it. Even better, Windows 8 will run on ARM-based tablets, allowing for thinner, lighter and longer-lasting designs. A slew of new convertible notebooks that run Windows 8 will arrive in fall too. I can’t wait for the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, which bends its hinge back 180 degrees to become a slate. Even Kanye West would sit in his seat long enough to wait for Windows 8.

 


Ultrabooks

The first generation of Ultrabooks — a new category of uberthin, fast-booting notebooks — arrived last fall with prominent entries from all the PC vendors. However, though notebooks like the ASUS Zenbook UX31 and Toshiba Portege Z835 have a lot going for them, a new generation of much-improved Ultrabookswill arrive this summer. These notebooks will sport Intel’s faster, more efficient 3rd generation Core Series processors (aka Ivy Bridge), and many will offer higher-resolution displays.

A couple of models stand out to us. The ASUS ZenBook Prime will offer a generous 1920 x 1080 screen that will let you watch HD movies at their native resolution, while viewing more of your favorite web pages and documents without scrolling. Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon could be the ultimate productivity notebook when it launches this summer. It will pack a gorgeous 14-inch, 1600 x 900 matte display into a .75-inch thick chassis that weighs just 3 pounds. Plus, you’ll get the industry’s best keyboard.

 


Sprint Phones

Sprint likes to call itself “the Now Network,” but it really should be named “the Promise Network,” because right now all it is selling is the promise of 4G LTE at some point in the future. The carrier recently announced that it is dumping its mediocre 4G WiMAX networkin favor of LTE on new handsets. That’s the right move long-term, but it leaves current Sprint customers in a bind.

The company is selling 4G LTE phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper 4G LTE, but they’ll only get a 3G signal until Sprint launches its new network. The carrier plans to roll out LTE this summer to just six cities — Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio — with no ETA for other cities apart from 123 million people covered by the end of the year. Even if you live in one of the designated six markets, there’s no guarantee that Sprint’s implementation of LTE will be as fast as AT&T and Verizon’s; we just don’t know.

Whether you are already a Sprint customer or are just thinking of becoming one, you should wait to see how quickly the company’s version of LTE is coming to your area and whether it actually lives up to the hype. You don’t want to buy that Evo 4G LTE today, only to be stuck with 2007-era 3G speeds while your friends on Verizon and AT&T are cruising along at 4G.

 


MacBook Pros

If you have your heart set on an Apple MacBook Pro, tell your heart to go on without one for just a little longer. Everyone expects Apple to announce a new lineup of MacBook Pros in June and these new notebooks will reportedly weigh less, feature high-resolution “Retina” displays and provide USB 3.0 ports in addition to running Ivy Bridge CPUs. These notebooks will also be running Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lionsoftware, which brings more iPad-like functionality to Macs along with stronger security.

Unless a pack of rabid Windows fanboys breaks into your house and smashes your current MacBook Pro with a Metro-UI styled hammer, you can hold on for another few weeks. The Retina display, which should show more content on the screen at once, is reason enough to wait.

 


Android Tablets

Apple enthusiasts don’t have anything to wait for when it comes to tablets. The “new” iPad just came out in March and has an incredible, high-res screen paired with a powerful processor. However, if you want to consider an Android tablet, now is not the time to buy.

Though we’ve seen some speedy quad-core tablets like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, we’re still waiting for Android tablet makers to come out with screens that have higher than 1280 x 800 resolution. Both ASUS and Acer have announced 1920 x 1200 tablets, but neither one has hit the market yet. If you plunk down $500 on a tablet now, you’ll feel silly when the new HD models arrive within the next couple of months.

 


Smart TVs

Apple can play coy all it wants, but many industry insiders believe that the Cupertino company plans to launch its own TV later this year. There’s no question that the Apple TV will have deep iTunes integration, a gorgeous screen (Apple is known for that) and some kind of Siri-based voice control.

When it comes to launching new Smart TVs, Apple won’t be alone. LG recently showed off its G2 Smart TV, which uses the Google TV 2.0 interface, supports voice commands and comes with a gesture-controlled “Magic” remote. Lenovo just began shipping its Android 4.0- powered K55 Smart TV in China and it may come here at some point as well. If you wait, the additional competition from these new products will force down prices on existing Smart TVs as well.

 


Windows Phones

The Nokia Lumia 900 has a gorgeous design and the HTC Titan II has an awesome 16-MP camera. However, when it comes to specs, apps and basic multitasking, Windows Phones still lag behind their Android and iPhone counterparts.

With Windows Phone 8 due out this fall, Microsoft could finally start to close the feature gap with Apple and Google. According to some reports, the new mobile operating system will support higher resolution screens, dual-core CPUs, NFC payments and apps that can control other apps, a necessity for true multitasking.

Microsoft has issued some conflicting statements about whether current Windows Phones would get an OS upgrade so I wouldn’t count on the Lumia you buy today running Windows 8 tomorrow. If you’re attracted to Windows Phone, delay your purchase until fall. Otherwise, you’ll be living with a single-core, low-res handset for two years.

 


eReaders

There are several great eReader optionson the market right now, from the tablet-like Amazon Kindle Fire to the E Ink-powered Nook Simple Touch. However, as strong as the eReader offerings are today, they’re about to get much better. Barnes & Noble just released its Simple Touch with GlowLight and rumor has it that Amazon is set to release its own backlit E Ink-based Kindle this summer.

However, backlit E Ink is just the tip of this innovative ice berg. Expect Amazon to launch the second-generation Kindle Fire 2 this fall, complete with higher-res screen options and possibly larger form factors like 8.9 inches. Flush with investment money from Microsoft and not content to stand still, Barnes & Noble is sure to release a new Nook Tablet sometime later this year as well. We’d expect the next Nook to also have a higher resolution than 1024 x 600.

There’s also a persistent rumor that Amazon will release Kindles using color E Ink later this year. We just reviewed the color E Ink-powered Ectaco Jetbook Color so the technology is already out there. How bad would you feel if you bought an old-school grayscale Kindle today, only to see one with a backlight or a color screen come out within a few months?

 


BlackBerrys

Research in Motion, the company that makes Blackberry phones, seems to be stuck in a time warp, offering phones that have the best specs of 2009, including single-core 800-MHz CPUs, tiny 2.4-inch screens and an outmoded BlackBerry 7 OS. Fortunately, most people aren’t foolish enough to buy phones that you’d expect to find in the bargain bin at a garage sale rather than the shelf at a Verizon store.

RIM seems to understand the problem too as it plans to release an entirely new line of phones running its new BlackBerry 10 OS later this year. The new touch-friendly BlackBerry London phone, complete with a bigger screen and faster processor than we’ve seen on a BlackBerry before, should arrive by fall. If you must have a BlackBerry, this is the one to wait for.

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Microsoft lanzará su suite de ofimática Office el próximo mes de noviembre para el iPad. Sin embargo, Office no estará exclusivamente disponible para el ‘tablet’ iOS sino también para los ‘tablets’ con sistema operativo Android. Los de Redmond lanzarán la suite de ofimática al mismo tiempo para las dos plataformas, que se esperan para el mes de noviembre.

Desde el pasado mes de noviembre, una serie de rumores apuntaban hacia la existencia de Office para iPad y su inminente lanzamiento. Estas informaciones aseguraban que el gigante Microsoft podría estar desarrollando una adaptación de la versión actual de Office en forma de aplicación para iPad y, además, también lanzaría una nueva versión de Office para el OS X Lion de Mac a finales del 2012.

Ya en febrero, nuevas informaciones apuntaban que en ese mismo mes la aplicación de Office para iPad llegaría a la App Store, ya que solo faltaba la aprobación de Apple. Sin embargo, por el momento nada relacionado con Office ha aparecido en la tienda de aplicaciones de Apple.

Ahora, según ha confirmado una “fuente confiable” de Microsoft al portal BGR la aplicación de Microsoft Office para iPad llegará el próximo mes de noviembre, pero no lo hará solo para esta plataforma. La misma fuente asegura que los ‘tablets’ con sistema operativo Android también disfrutarán de esta aplicación, y serán lanzadas a la vez en ambas tiendas de aplicaciones.

Microsoft ya cuenta con algunas aplicaciones disponibles para el iPad como Bing, MSN y ONIT OnPoint MSN. Hay incluso más aplicaciones disponibles para el iPhone, donde se incluyen Microsoft Tag, Windows Live Messenger y Wonderwall. Por su parte, Office es el software más vendido de Microsoft, sólo superado por Windows. En 2011, la suite de software supuso 11.139 millones de euros (15.000 millones de dólares) para Microsoft.

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On Monday, Apple announced its new cloud-based media service iCloud. The service allows users to store music, photos, and apps on Apple’s servers and access them from their iOS devices, Macs, or PCs.

That’s great for music and photography fans, but what about us cinefiles and gamers? Where’s our love? For now, Apple isn’t showing us much, but the potential exists to integrate the service with games and movies in a way that no one has done before, and it just so happens that I have a few suggestions about how that should come to be.

As a side note, I’d just like to say how much I’m looking forward to no longer being burdened by iTunes’ restrictive nature when it comes to my music. Before iCloud, if I wanted to buy a song through iTunes at home, sync it to my iPhone, then transfer that song to my Tunes library at work, I couldn’t. Which is ridiculous and antiquated functionality that I am very happy to see go.

This was an issue for years, and I’m surprised it’s taken this long to see it fully addressed. So I guess a thanks to Apple is in order; however, it’s one of those thanks a wife gives her husband after she’s reminded him five times to take out the now-overflowing garbage, and he finally does.

Games
If you’ve (literally) bought into the the Apple iDevice ecosystem and you’re a gamer, you likely use both your iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad to game.

I personally prefer gaming on the iPad over the smaller iDevices, but will use my iPhone when I’m away from home. The iPad is more of a “couch/bed computer” and usually doesn’t leave the relative safety of my abode.

So, when I’m on the bus or sitting in a theater alone waiting for my third viewing of “Thor” to start, out comes the iPhone. I use it to pass the time and distract myself from the fact that I’m sitting in a theater alone waiting for my third viewing of “Thor” to start.

Whether it’s Infinity Blade or Cut the Rope, eventually the time comes when I need to stop playing, usually right in the middle of particularly difficult fight or level. Then, after the movie’s over and I’ve wiped my eyes dry of tears–hopefully before my wife sees me–I’ll want to continue my casual gaming experience at home, starting from the exact point I left off.

Currently, I have no choice but to continue playing on my 3.5-inch screen, while the much larger and sexier screen of the iPad taunts me from the coffee table as only a foul temptress can.

I propose that Apple implements a way to store game progress info from your iDevice to the cloud and pushes it to your other iDevices, making the Apple ecosystem that much more appealing and also catering to what understandably could be my very particular needs.

Well, it’s probably not that particular and it’s not as if this is completely unprecedented. Open Feint allowed certain games to do this very successfully, so the technology exists in some form. I’m just waiting for Apple to throw us gamers a little iCloud love.

Movies
Now, I know Apple currently has no plans to allow users to stream movies via iCloud, and there are likely some carrier bandwidth issues that could make this a difficult proposition, at least via cellular. As a tech journalist I’m paid to take issues like that into account, but as a consumer, I just want the thing I want. The technical issues why I can’t get the thing I want aren’t important to me.

Netflix has great cloud-based functionality that allows me to stream a movie on my Xbox, stop it, and then continue on my iPad or PC, right where I left off. Unfortunately, getting a movie I actually want to see (and not just settle for) is such an incredible rarity on the service.

Being able to easily stream movies from my own library onto any of my iDevices at any time would make annoying, socially awkward gatherings with people I don’t like or care about that much more tolerable if I knew I could, at a moment’s notice, break out the opening scene to “X2” and sink back into a fanboy nerdgasm. Bad for personal development, yes, but great for geek cred (those things are usually antithetical anyway).

In all seriousness, I hope Apple is at least considering these avenues of iCloud implementation. The service has the potential to expand the appeal of Apple’s ecosystem by increasing its usefulness the more iDevices you own. Here’s hoping Apple doesn’t limit that use to just music and photos.

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Hace tan solo unos días, los fans de Apple celebraban que la App Store llegaba al medio millón de aplicaciones registradas. En otro rincón, en Google festejan lo rápido que crece su tienda online, y en Microsoft y Nokia se frotan las manos sabiendo que la suya pronto estallará. ¿Pero cuántas de ellas siguen disponibles? ¿Cuántas apps han sido abandonadas? Tenemos las cifras.

En Android, de las cerca de 300.000 aplicaciones disponibles 95.000 han desaparecido ya del Android Market. Es decir, una ratio del 32%. Es la cifra más alta del mercado, superando incluso las cifras de la AppStore. En la tienda online de Apple, que ya pasó de los 500.000 registros, ya han caído unas 80.000. O lo que es lo mismo, ha desparecido un 16% del stock total.

Un factor que no se tiene en cuenta

La tasa de abandono es un factor olvidado, y ocultado de forma totalmente voluntaria, por los creadores de sistemas operativos móviles. Es un dato muy relevante a la hora de atraer desarrolladores, ya que se tiene la sensación de que cuanto mayor sea el tamaño más fácil será triunfar. Aunque en realidad es un limitador de la competencia.

Esta información ha sido ofrecida por Appsfire, una aplicación para buscar y encontrar apps en Android y en iPhone. Durante los últimos meses, Appsfire ha rectificado las cifras ofrecidas por empresas de análisis. Por ejemplo, durante el Google I/O el dato oficial fue que se alcanzaron las 200.000 aplicaciones en el Android Markets, justo cuando el contador de Appsfire marcaba 206.000. Sin embargo, la firma Distimo dijo ya en marzo que había esa cantidad de software, y para research2guide el número se multiplicaba hasta casi 300.000.

En el lado Apple el debate es el mismo. Del medio millón de aplicaciones celebrados, ahora mismo en iTunes hay unas 425.000 disponibles. Es muy poco probable que el Android Market pase a la AppStore este 2011. No es el único caso. Appsfire también ha descubierto que plataformas como Amazon ofrecen en sus totales las apps en formato beta o las apps privadas para hacer más bulto.

Abandono y eliminación de aplicaciones

El estudio también busca algunas razones para entender porqué ocurre esta situación.en Android. Se deduce que hay muchos desarrolladores que se acercan a la la plataforma de Google para realizar experimentos y no solo para realizar negocios, quizá porque no hay examen de aprobación.

Otra razón está en la barrera de entradas y los costes de ser desarrollador oficial Apple frente a las herramientas App Inventor.

La libertad de publicación en Android Market también provoca que se suban numerosas apps que violan los términos del servicio y que Google sí elimina una vez denunciadas, otra razón para ir restando.

Por tanto, hay que tener en cuenta que el tamaño de las tiendas online para móviles no lo es todo. Mejor echar un vistazo al informe Developer Economics 2011 para saber qué es realmente lo que importa.

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Android smartphones are the most data hungry, according to new statistics from Nielsen Co., blowing past the iPhone and other smartphones. But it’s still not clear why that is and whether or not this indicates more usage on the part of Android users or something inherent in the platform that lends itself to more data use.

Nielsen said Android users consume an average of 582 megabytes per month over cellular connections. IPhone users were second with 492 megabytes per month followed by WebOS phones (448 MB), Windows Phone 7 (317 MB), and BlackBerry (127 MB) handsets. The data was gathered by looking at more than 65,000 cell phone bills of mobile users. The results fall in line with a previous report in December from Arieso that also found Android devices were the heaviest data users.

Other Nielsen statistics suggest, however, that iPhone users should be the biggest data users. Nielsen said that iPhone users were tops in downloading an app in the last 30 days as well listening to streaming music or watching video in the last month, while Android users were second in all those categories.

Now it could be that Android owners are more power users while iPhone users dabble more broadly but may not be as intense in their data use. This got me thinking there might be other reasons why Android users look like bigger data users. Apple requires apps that are bigger than 200 20 MB to be downloaded over Wi-Fi rather than on a 3G connection. It also does its software updates over a wired connection via iTunes, while Android users get their updates wirelessly. Those updates are more limited in their impact since they’re not frequent, but it does show that Android can natively route more traffic via cellular networks than iOS. Android also has a higher percentage of free apps compared to iOS, and it’s likely the free apps monetize more through ads, which have to communicate frequently with ad servers.

But I also wondered if the whole frenzy over location databases kept by Google and Apple may also be part of the issue. As you may recall, Apple was in the spotlight for the way its iPhones gathered location information in a local database file. Apple said that the database is backed up by Apple when a user connects through iTunes. But Google, however, said that when an Android user opts in for location services, anonymized location information is sent directly to Google’s servers. That means Google is potentially sending a steady stream of information from its phones back to its data centers to improve its location database, something it has to do because it stopped using its Google Street View cars to gather Wi-Fi database information. This could also help explain why Android users appear to be using more data.

Now, I could totally missing the mark on this. And perhaps it just comes down to the fact that Android users are more savvy. That wouldn’t be totally surprising, especially since Android devices gained mobile hotspot functionality in the U.S. before iPhones did. The platform was more popular initially with programmers and tech enthusiasts who were attracted by Android’s openness and its ability to modify it. So it could be that these users just try to get more out of their devices. Nielsen tells me that Android users skew younger in the 25-34 year old age group, which might also have an effect with younger users potentially more active on Android.

But I think it’s a good question to raise considering Android is now the leading smartphone platform and it’s attracting more mainstream users now, not just techie early adopters. And all this is happening in an age when broadband caps and tiered data plans are now becoming more of a reality, which is putting more of a spotlight on data efficiency. Now, I’m not sure users are going to be attracted to data-sipping platforms like BlackBerry just to save a buck, but this could impact some Android users if they’re finding their usage is higher than it ought to be not because of their actions, but because of the platform’s inherent characteristics.

Again, I could be way off on this. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and why you think Android is using up more data. What do you think?

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A judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission said today that Apple is not in violation of five of Nokia’s patents.

Nokia filed a series of suits against Apple in 2009, accusing the company of infringing on 17 patents related to wireless handsets that Apple had refused to license. Nokia asked the ITC that Apple be banned from importing the offending devices. Apple countersued, charging Nokia with infringing 13 Apple patents related to the iPhone.

ITC Judge James Gildea made the initial determination that Apple had not infringed on Nokia’s patents, Reuters reported today. It’s not the final decision, however. The entire ITC has to either agree to uphold Gildea’s determination, or throw it out at a hearing later this summer.

It’s been a busy day for Apple on the legal front. Just hours earlier the ITC agreed it would review Kodak’s claims that Apple and RIM are infringing on image-previewing patents in mobile devices.

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