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Top companies, big announcements

This week had a lot of device announcements as well as company updates. Both Apple and Amazon had huge keynote announcements this week. Let’s dig in!

Let’s start with Apple; I will say I am not impressed, but here is what you need to know.

Apple had updates for the iPod Nano, Touch, and iPhone. The newest iPhone is called the iPhone 4S; the exterior looks the same, but the interior is different.

It now has the A5 dual core processor found in the iPad 2, 1 GB of RAM, better call quality, and an 8-megapixel camera.

The A5 processor makes this phone twice as fast as the regular iPhone 4. The camera is now able to shoot 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second.

This phone is a world phone, meaning it works on both CDMA and GSM networks.

The battery can last up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G, 6 hours of web browsing on 3G, 10 hours of video watching, and 40 hours of listening to music.

The phone will cost $199 for 8GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB. The phone comes in both black and white at launch. The iPhone 4S will be available on Oct. 14 on AT&T, Verizon, and for the first time on Sprint. Pre-orders start Friday.

In my own opinion, do not upgrade to this if you already have an iPhone 4, this is a very small upgrade not worth your money. Also, if you want an iPhone but not a new one, the 8GB iPhone 3GS is now free with a new 2-year contract with AT&T.

The new generation of iPods received very minor updates. The touch now comes in both black and white.

Other than that it is the same as last year’s iPod Touch; you can buy an 8GB version for $199; 32GB at $299; and a 64GB for $399 on Oct. 12.

The Nano now has an improved touch navigation system. The icons now take up the whole screen, instead of having four icons on one screen.

There are improved fitness features as well. The Nano can now be used as a watch; Apple has created several digital and analog clock faces for this, as well as Disney characters to act as the hands of the clock.

The Nano is available now at $129 for 8GB of storage or $149 for 16GB. This is Apple’s most affordable iPod Nano yet!

The largest update for Apple is their new operating system, iOS 5.0. It has a completely new notification system, new e-mail features and other updates.

A new app will be available called iMessage; it is a texting app for iDevice users. The iPad will get tab browsing in Safari as well as FaceTime over 3G, which is also available to the iPhone 4 and 4S.

A new voice-integration app called “Siri” will be available only on the iPhone 4S. It will be able to do almost anything you tell it to do.

It can look up the weather, type your text message, set alarms, schedule appointments, anything! This will be available sometime this year.

The best feature coming is iCloud; this will allow users to store all their content in a digital space rather than the device itself.

The iCloud can hold documents, photos, songs, videos, apps, and many other items. There is also a Wi-Fi Sync which allows for your content to be on several devices without the hassle of manually doing it yourself.

iOS 5.0 will launch on Oct. 12 for free; it will work only with iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S, the iPod Touch 3rd gen, 4th gen, and 5th gen, and both iPads, as well as future products. For more information on Apple’s new products please head on over to www.apple.com/ios/features.html.

In a bit of sad news, Apple’s most recent CEO Steve Jobs, who stepped down on August 24th, died yesterday.

Apple has commented, “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives.

The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

Steve Jobs is the man who co-created Apple, then was kicked out, and then created it again. Steve Jobs is also the man to thank for our beloved film studio, Pixar. Steve Jobs will surely be missed.

Enough about Apple, let’s get to huge tablet news! Amazon announced their first tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire.

This is not only an Android powered tablet, but also has the power of the Kindle bookstore. The tablet has a 7 inch screen and weighs 14.6 ounces.

The tablet has only Wi-Fi capabilities, no 3G here folks. It has 8GB of storage as well as free cloud storage from Amazon. The reason why people should care about this tablet is because it has 7.5 hours of video playback, and an insanely low price of $199.

“We believe that the launch of an Amazon Tablet will significantly boost the tablet market and inject a much needed competitor to Apple’s iPad,” Adam Leach, an analyst at research firm Ovum said.

The Amazon Kindle Fire will be available on Nov. 15; Amazon is now taking pre-orders.

Samsung has announced another tablet in the Samsung Galaxy Tab family.

The Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Plus is the fourth tablet from Samsung, also the second 7 inch tablet from Samsung.

Unlike the 7.7 Galaxy Tab, the 7.0 Plus runs on Android 3.2 Honeycomb. As of now there is no price or release date.

Samsung is worried though that they will face more patent troubles with Apple as they have in Australia and Germany.

Dell announced its newest ultra-thin laptop, the Dell 14 Inch XPS z laptop.

This laptop will be under an inch thick. It weighs 4.4 pounds, comes with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, an Nvidia GeForce GT 520M graphics option, USB 3.0 ports, and a 1366×768 HD LED display.

The only bad news is that it will be available in China first, and is unknown when it will be available in the US.

The most surprising news this week came from Netflix. Soon after the price spike, many people cancelled their subscriptions. In a surprising response, Netflix announced that it would split into two companies. The new company will be named Qwikster.

Netflix will now only support instant video while Qwikster will distribute DVDs, Blu-ray videos, and now video games. Qwikster will be run by Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. At this time Qwikster has an unknown launch date.

Over the summer at the E3 press conference, Microsoft announced that live TV will be coming to Xbox LIVE in the fall, it is expected to launch with the new Dashboard update in November.

Customers can expect deals from HBO, Sony Pictures, Crackle streaming service, and Bravo Network. Microsoft is also in talks with Comcast and Verizon.

All sources from Cnet.com

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