Can’t afford the Droid? Get an Eris

Droid Eris.It looks like Verizon will be launching more than one “Droid” branded phone on November 6th. According to a leaked document picked up at Engadget, the HTC Eris will hit stores the same day as Motorola’s Droid at $199 with a $100 mail-in rebate.

The Eris is basically a rebranded HTC Hero, though in this case running Android 1.5 with the popular Sense UI. It’s a sharp looking phone, but the processor leaves a bit to be desired. Also, no word on whether Verizon will be pushing Android 2.0 onto this thing, so you could be missing out on Google’s free navigation app. Motorola’s Droid, on the other hand, gives you a physical keyboard, much faster processor, and guaranteed Android 2.0.

For the price, though, it’s hard to go wrong. The regular HTC Hero costs $180.

Source: Engadget

Best Buy cures those Droid rebate blues

Best Buy and Android gettin along just fine.If you’re going to release a great device, a gadget of any kind really, don’t bog the thing down with rebates. It just gives me reason to pause before selling anything I can find just to get my hands on it. I wasn’t so surprised to see Palm try the rebate thing with the Pre. The company really needed money. But Motorola? I figured they’d be a little better off. Thankfully, Best Buy’s decided to just sell the thing for $199.99 outright with a contract.

This sort of thing takes a lot of the burden off the wireless stores, which tend to be small and understaffed, especially as you get more rural. It’s also just nice to be able to walk in and pay the $200 without worrying about rebates. In case you forgot, the Droid launches on November 6th.

Get your fill of geeky costumey goodness

The community at Gizmodo came through big for Halloween and submitted pics of geeky costumes. There are some really good ones, though my personal favorite has to be baby Tanooki.

Geeky Costumes at Gizmodo

LG says 7 years before OLED drops to LCD prices

LG OLED TV.If you’ve been sitting on your next TV purchase for that glut of OLED TVs to flood the market, you shouldn’t. LG’s VP of OLED sales and marketing, Won Kim, says prices won’t come down to LCD levels until 2016. Seven years is a long way off, and so much can change that Kim might be wrong, but in any case, OLEDs won’t be reasonable anytime soon.

Kim’s statements came shortly after LG announced a 15-inch OLED TV for its Korean market at the end of this year. No announcement for the US market, and that’s sort of been the standard so far. Only Sony sells an OLED stateside, and it’s just 11-inches. So it’s not just market prices we’re waiting on – the whole system has to mature enough to even be able to deliver the product.

Kim did say we would see 40-inch OLEDs by something like 2012, but you can bet they’ll be expensive. Of course by then who’s to say LCDs and Plasmas won’t be nearly as good as an OLED? The “absolute black” that makes the OLED so attractive (among some other features) is nearly attainable now with dimming LED TVs. In seven year this generation of technology could come a long way.

FHM app brings the hotness to your iPhone

Rachelle Leah on FHM appIn the rush to release an iPhone app, a lot of publishers have missed the mark, omitting their best content for something quick and dirty that kicks your ass outside after you’ve had your five minutes of fun. FHM’s iPhone app is different, though. It’s loaded with content, frequently updated, and it only costs $1.99.

I was more than happy to consider reviewing the app since I knew what hid between FHM’s magazine covers. Everyone knows FHM gets the hottest women alive – just look at the Megan Fox shoot – and that’s the bulk of material the app delivers to the iPhone. The app works on a card system that’s actually a lot like the Palm Pre’s OS. The two most prominent cards are “Non-stop Honeys” and “Girl of the Week.” Each section allows you to view FHM photo content in a grid of four per screen, or zoomed to full-screen. You can then save or share the pictures you like and vote on your favorites.

The app also has a videos section with behind-the-scene content for a lot of the photo shoots. Again, content is updated regularly, so you should be able to find something new to watch as often as you come back to the app. To top things off, FHM feeds articles into the “Take Once Daily” sections, and adds that special FHM flavor with the “Useful/Useless Facts” section (who knew a five-minute kiss was illegal in Iowa?).

The whole thing is delivered in a slick little package courtesy of Zumobi. If you’re a fan of the FHM magazine, there’s no way you’ll be disappointed in the $1.99 you spend on this app.

FHM provided the software for this review

Droid drops Nov. 6th, brings Android 2.0 along with it

Motorola Droid red eye.Today Verizon officially announced the Motorola Droid launch date: November 6th. The Droid will be the first phone to release with Android 2.0, which will include that jealousy-that-burns-like-the-herp-inducing navigation system. Yeah, the free turn-by-turn GPS that sent Garmin and TomTom stock into free fall. The phone will run $199.99 after a $100 debit card rebate on a two-year contract.

The phone has Verizon understandably excited (though it did seem like Verizon forgot about the Storm 2) – it’s got a snappy processor, a great screen, a decent keyboard, and an excellent operating system. It’s the phone Verizon’s been missing, and with the free turn-by-turn announcement today, it got even better. In my mind it’s the phone to have if you’re trying to avoid AT&T, as I expect any reasonable person would.

Verizon had this to say about the Droid: “It is a no-fuss, high-tech, location-aware, voice-recognizing, over-the-air updating, multi-tasking machine.” Sounds to me like quite a bit of fuss. Quite a bit of fuss I’d like to get my hands on – know what I’m saying?

New iMac skimps on mini DisplayPort compatibility

Apple Mini DisplayPort.One of the best features of the new iMac is that the 27-incher can be used as a passive display via the mini DisplayPort. Unfortunately, that feature only currently works with other devices sporting the same port, which is virtually nothing. Not even Apple’s DVI adapter will work.

That’s not to say adapters won’t be supported later, it’s just a really great feature that, sadly, doesn’t work at launch. By adding the dummy monitor feature, Apple is essentially giving you a near-cinema display for just over half the price of a 30-inch monitor. Oh yeah, it also comes with a computer inside. But if you were thinking you’d hook that 360 up to your new iMac for extreme graphical sexiness, it looks like you’ll have to wait.

MacFarlane and Borstein scare Microsoft away

Seth MacFarlaneI’m not sure what Microsoft thought Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein would put together for the Windows 7 sponsored Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show, but apparently it was something very different from typical Family Guy fare. After viewing the show’s taping session, Microsoft execs pulled the plug on the special event.

“We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of Family Guy, but after reviewing an early version of the variety show, it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman. In this case (as with just about every episode of the show), “creative humor” meant jokes about deaf people and Holocaust jabs. Is anyone surprised?

The endorsement drop didn’t kill the show, though. Fox will still be airing the special event on November 8th as part of an all-MacFarlane night of television. Hopefully the new sponsor will actually look at some of MacFarlane’s work before considering a deal.

Source: Variety

Storm 2 available October 28th

Blackberry Storm 2.Verizon made a quiet little announcement yesterday – the Blackberry Storm 2 will be out tomorrow, October 28th. The news follows a year of leaks, so it’s not much of a surprise. It’s odd, though, that Big Red is so nonchalant about the release. The original Storm wasn’t quite the hit it was supposed to be, but the Storm 2 is supposed to have fixed most of the original problems.

Part of the Storm 2′s problem is that it’s been almost universally panned. The GPS is supposedly awful and the Blackberry OS 5.0 has a tendency to reset spontaneously on the 9550. There’s also the fact that the Blackberry OS continues to age while systems like the iPhone OS and Android are doing a better job of growing alongside the devices they support.

As for positive additions, the Storm 2 finally adds WiFi and makes a big improvement on the original’s touchscreen. The Storm 2 will run $179.99 on contract after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Study shows $600 as critical price point for Apple tablet

Apple Tablet.Mac addicts are almost proud to spend hundreds of extra dollars when it comes to buying a computer, but an Apple tablet might not just be for Mac nerds. The general expectation is that Apple’s tablet will be like the iPhone or an iPod, bridging the gap between the diehards and the average consumer. With the average consumer, though, price becomes more important, and as a recent study by Retrevo suggests, $600 might be the break point.

According to Retrevo, 68% of Mac users would be willing to spend over that $600 point on Apple’s tablet. In fact, 41% are willing to break $800 for the device. That hangs in line with what we know about Mac users’ spending habits. PC folks, on the other hand, aren’t so easy to persuade. Granted, there are still armies of them willing to pay premium dollar for the Apple brand, but not nearly as many by percentage.

From the survey results, it looks like 36% of PC users would consider spending over $600. Strangely enough, only 16% would spend in the $600-$800 range, while 20% were willing to break the $800 mark. Still, that leaves a huge base of people dreaming sub-$600, a price that I just can’t imagine we’ll see.