Every Tuesday, Gadzooki takes a look at ten top tech stories from the past week and serves them up to you in manageable chunks for easy digestion. Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or Twitter account so you don’t miss them.
1. Sony Vaio laptops preloaded with Google Chrome browser
That’s a great result for Google, even thought VAIO’s aren’t necessarily the most popular laptops going and that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox have a huge market share in comparison (~70%/20%).
Is this a sign that Sony might be keen to get Google’s forthcoming Chrome OS on board? It would be interesting to know, though hard to measure, how much damage PC manufacturers have suffered as a result of sticking Windows Vista on their computers. Windows 7 might be better, but perhaps Chrome OS will join Linux as a credible alternative OS — even as a build option rather than by default — for hardware vendors wanting to distance themselves from Microsoft.
Chrome might only have about two percent of the browser market share at present, but I just get the feeling that share will grow as more deals are done and the word gets out to Joe Public.
2. Blu-ray gets movieIQ movie database service
movieIQ is powered by Gracenote’s Video Explore system, and offers viewers the option of getting information about a film’s cast and crew, plus various trivia, with compatible discs and a Net-connected Blu-ray player.
Initially, a range of new Sony Pictures Home Entertainment titles will be included, including Angels & Demons and Terminator Salvation.
3. Samsung launching smartphone app store in Europe
Following the trend of nearly every other cellphone manufacturer at present, Samsung has announced that a Europe mobile application store will open on September 14, initially catering to Omnia and i8910 HD users, with the Omnia II and Omnia Lite being added in due course.
As you’d expect, the application store will include a range of games, social networking tools, reference, ebooks and health/fitness tools.
Omnia and I8910 HD users will need to upgrade their devices to take advantage of the store, which will be available in English, French and Italian language options and either credit card or phone billing.
An initial offering of around 300 applications will be available at launch, with over 2,000 expected by the end of the year. Developers include Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Handmark, TAITO, Paragon SW, Capcom, Com2us, Prompt, Pearson Longman, Bokan Tech and Diotek.
4. New “Microsoft cellphones” coming
The announcement reads as if Microsoft itself is creating the hardware, when in reality it’s business as usual, with manufacturers such as HP, LG, HTC, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer and Sony Ericsson creating the hardware with the new OS in mind.
At-a-glance features of the new Windows Mobile include an improved web browser with Adobe Flash Lite support, Office Outlook Mobile and Office Mobile, Windows Live, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and the My Phone service for backing up and synchronizing mobile data on the web.
Expect much more coverage of these new phones in October.
5. 3G capacity problems by 2010
A new study suggests that high-speed mobile networks (commonly called 3G networks) will struggle with capacity issues as soon as the middle of next year.
The demand for high speed mobile communication has increased rapidly with the proliferation of web-enabled smartphones and associated mobile services.
Unwired Insight’s report “Will 3G networks cope?” suggests that 3G traffic volumes in developed nations will increase by over 20 times in the next five years.
“The effect of 3G network capacity shortfalls will be that service users experience degradation in the quality of service provided by a 3G operator, particularly at times and locations at which the network is heavily used,” said co-author Dr Alastair Brydon.
Unfortunately, I can also foresee network operators caught short and then either charging end users more for the same (or a downgraded) service, or simply cutting or capping their service much as happens with fixed-line broadband throttling.
6. Wii Channel is free
This will allow more users access to a range of online services via the Wii-optimized web browser.
The Wii Internet Channel previously required 500 Wii Points. For those Wii owners who have already spent 500 Wii Points on the Wii Internet Channel, Nintendo will be offering a NES title from Virtual Console worth 500 Wii Points and will be launched in late October.
7. OS X Snow Leopard launches
The big weekend news for Macheads was the launch of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
More of a performance upgrade than with loads of brand new bells and whistles, it improves the general usability of Leopard and has some nice touches that many users will appreciate.
If you’re an existing Leopard user, the upgrade won’t break the bank either. $29 / £25.
8. 3M MPro pocket projectors
It’s not the first time we’ve seen video projectors built in to ultra-portable devices, but 3M has just shown off its MPro hardware which offers super bright projection, integrated speakers and long battery life.
The MPro120 VGA projector uses an LCOS micro projector engine and offers 12 lumens of brightness at 640 x 480 resolution, projecting anything from an eight to 50-inch image.
OK, it’s not a home cinema projector but is pretty impressive for a small device. It costs just £299 (about $400).
9. Amazon Kindle coming to Europe?
However, industry sources suggest that Amazon may be looking to launch in European markets as early as next week, to pre-empt Sony’s Daily Edition which would be the company’s first Wi-Fi enabled device but is unlikely to arrive in Europe for at least a year.
Europeans already have some choice when it comes to e-Book readers, including the Sony Reader range and the Cool-ER. Amazon would surely love to snap up a piece of this increasingly popular market.
10. Nokia World conference
Tomorrow sees the start of Nokia World, a two-day conference held in Stuttgart, Germany, and a nice prelude to the hubbub of IFA in Berlin next week.
We’ve already had a lot of Nokia announcements, but expect a lot more to come out over the next 48 hours.
If it suddenly all goes a bit Nokia tomorrow, you’ll know why!