Google+ Hits Beta With 9 New Major Features

Despite Google+ being available for over 90 days now, it was nothing more than a field trial. As of today it has hit beta, and with that 9 new features worth mentioning. First off is searching for users and posts (finally). Next is open signups for everyone, turning Google+ into a beta, so now you can actually get on it if you hadnt been invited. Next is video Hangouts for mobile devices starting with an update to their Android app and an iOS app update coming soon. Another feature is to make a public broadcast that anyone can see, with up to nine different users as part of your public broadcast, however this feature may be restricted to famous users or corporations.

Also added to hangouts is Screensharing (show whatever is on your screen with people in your Hangout), Sketchpad (for doodling with people, or showing friends your doodles) Google Doc (obviously for serious stuff), and Named Hangouts, for when you can organize certain Hangouts about certain subjects, for example.

And this all comes two days before Facebook’s f8 conference. War, my friends, is commencing.

Via: Google Blog

The New HTC Rhyme Is A “Lady Phone” From Verizon

Men get DROIDS and women get — Rhymes? No, no, no. The HTC Rhyme has a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 3.7-inch WVGA Super LCD screen, 768MB RAM, and a 5 megapixel camera (no front-facing or LTE). On top of all of the silly stuff, the HTC Rhyme will come with a LED charm indicator that plugs into the 3.5mm headset jack, so that a woman could place it on her purse and would be notified of incoming calls or texts. It would also come with a pair of headphones and an alarm clock. It’s an insult really. Not even a dual-core processor.

At the very least it will come with the latest version of Sense on Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” — Sense 3.5, which isn’t seen on the newer, more powerful dual-core smartphones HTC has been releasing recently. The UI is much cleaner and otherwise there aren’t many other changes to speak of. The HTC Rhyme is debuting on Verizon in only one color on September 29th for $199.99 on contract, and a silver version is headed overseas in October.

This is so silly of you, HTC.

Google Wallet With MasterCard Now Available For Sprint Nexus S 4G

So now at select shops and restaurants you can begin using Google Wallet with your MasterCard on a Sprint Nexus S 4G. Since this is an initial launch, only MasterCards and Nexus S 4Gs are currently supported, but eventually VISA, Discover, American Express, and tons of other NFC-enabled Android phones will have access to Google Wallet later this year. Not only that, but there are 300,000 PayPass locations around the world for Google Wallet users to use, plus initial users will receive a $10 bonus on their Google Prepaid MasterCard accounts if activated before the end of the year. Check out Google’s blog post about it; they have some cool video of it in action.

Via: Google

Battlefield 3 Open Beta Starting September 29th

IT’S FINALLY COMING ZOMG!

The Battlefield 3 open beta. A calm right before the awesome storm that will be BF3. It’ll start the 29th, and will begin the 27th for Medal Of Honor owners early. Also, the Open Beta is available for those on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. The featured game mode will be Rush, Americans vs Russians on Operation Metro, the Parisian map. This is going to be a doozy. Via: Battlefield

Take A Look At The HP Touchpad 7-Inch Version That Will Never Come..

What you’re looking at above is the TouchPad Go — in other words, a 7-inch Touchpad. Since HP has killed off webOS for the meantime however, we will not know of this 7-inch webOS powerhouse. Purported specs included a 1.5GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, a rear-facing camera with flash, front-facing cam, 16GB storage and a 4:3 aspect ratio for the 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024×768, like the 9.7-inch Touchpad. However, what was going to be the most interesting about this little prototype is the NFC chip that is seemingly included. Oh well. Via: ZooPDA forums

Netflix Splits DVD And Streaming Businesses, Creating Qwikster To Handle DVDs

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will be credited with making the seemingly smart decision with the ongoing disapproval of higher prices for his company’s streaming and DVD services. Effective soon, the Qwikster DVD rental service will have separate movie ratings, billing cycles, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii support for a fee, separate user accounts, and its own CEO, ex-Netflix exec Andy Rendich. On the other side of the coin, Netflix will still remain in the video streaming business and will soon announce major additions to its catalog. Check out Reed’s blog post on the matter at the source link. Via: Netflix blog

Samsung Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch Now On Sale At Sprint

With a name so long, Sprint added a comma, I wonder what else you’ll do to talk to your friends about your just-purchased Galaxy S II, Epic Touch 4G from Sprint? Sporting the usual 2-year contract, what you get for the long agreement is a 1.2GHz Exynos dual-core processor, 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and full HD 1080p video recording, a front-facing 2MP cam, 4G WiMax connectivity, 16GB internal storage, and lastly a very large 1800 mAH battery. And right now, you know where to get it — at Sprint, obviously.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G LTE Review — Nice Going, Verizon

Price as Reviewed: $529.99 on 2-year agreement at Verizon Wireless

Despite all of the trouble between Apple and Samsung, and the “similarities” between the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad 2, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still the greatest Android tablet to date (see my original review in June). But Verizon added 4G LTE to it. Now that’s just a crime I say. Battery life remains just about the same, which is 9 to 10 hours of light usage (email, web, YouTube) and 8 hours o watching movies, playing music, and playing games on the awesome Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz platform. However the difference here is getting 16MBps downloads in areas with a coverage of 1 bar, and 30 and up in other with very strong coverage. That still bests most average home internet connections. And as a mobile hotspot, that sweet, sweet 4G LTE service just gets even better to use on your laptop (or in my case, a WiFi Galaxy Tab 10.1). Also to be noted is that Movies in te Android market as well ass Media Hub access is available on the 4G LT Tab 101, and Verizon hasn’t included a single crapware app.

Just about everything I said in the original review stands strong with the 4G LTE addition, except one thing: the placement of the power and volume buttons have been moved to accommodate the SIM card, and instead are to the right of the tablet, so confusing the two is quite a possibility. And also the new pricetag: $529.99 for a new 16GB white or grey model, which is only $30 more than before for a 2-year contract, or $699.99 for a month-to-month contract, much like the iPad 2 on Verizon.

Either way, it’s still my favorite Android tablet. Thanks for not mucking something  up with any crapware apps Verizon, and making something great even better than before.

Score: 9.5/10

One more shot of the 4G LTE-equipped Galaxy Tab 10.1 after the break.