Sprint, Kyocera Introduce Echo, the First Dual-Screen Android Smartphone – eWeek

On February 8, 2011, in Latest News, Movies, Videos, by admin

“I think we all wish we could have some of David’s magic in our lives,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, taking the stage afterward with Kyocera Senior Executive Officer Junzo Katsuki and working to somehow tie the intro of the Echo to what the audience, a little more perplexed than enthusiastic, had just witnessed. If not exactly magic, what the pair introduced might at least pleasantly surprise: a smartphone with two touchscreens that can run two applications “simultaneously and independently,” said Hesse. Users can, for example, watch a video on one screen and browse the Web on the other

“I think we all wish we could have some of David’s magic in
our lives,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, taking the stage afterward with Kyocera
Senior Executive Officer Junzo Katsuki and working to somehow tie the intro of
the Echo to what the audience, a little more perplexed than enthusiastic, had
just witnessed.

If not exactly magic, what the pair introduced might at
least pleasantly surprise: a smartphone with two touchscreens that can run two
applications “simultaneously and independently,” said Hesse. Users can, for
example, watch a video on one screen and browse the Web on the other. Or, they
can perform complementary tasks — such as watching a YouTube video on the
top screen while queuing up clips on the bottom screen. They also work to
complementary affect in e-mail, which shows
the inbox on one side and an open e-mail in
the other. (In landscape or portrait modes, ta da!)

The 3.5-inch LCD WVGA touchscreens can also work together
— in “tablet mode” — as a single 4.7-inch (on the diagonal) screen
for watching a movie or reading. Or, for a bit of old-fashioned fun, one can
slide the one screen behind the other and look at one thing at a time.

The Echo runs Android 2.2 and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor,
can act as a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices and will arrive in the spring
for $199 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.

In addition to the expected suite of Google services, it
offers access to Telenav GPS and Sprint TV & Movies, features Bluetooth 2.1
and a 5-megapixel camera, and supports MS Exchange ActiveSync, as well as POP
and IMAP email accounts. An 8GB microSD card comes with the phone, though it
can support a 32GB card.

Taking the stage after Hesse and Katsuki to offer a
demonstration, Fared Adib, Sprint vice president of product development, said
the phone’s multi-tasking nature has necessitated two new terms, “simultasking”
and “hyper-tasking” (both of which seem eligible for a doctor’s prescription),
as well as six pending patents for the special plastic “pivot hinge” that the
Echo’s sliding displays depend on.

“The big problem has always been creating a seam that
doesn’t take away from the profile of the product,” said Adib, explaining that
with the Echo, “You really have to get close to notice it. Your eye gets very
used to it.”

In addition to sitting together flat, the screens can be
arranged to mimic a laptop. A virtual keyboard is notably large — “One of
the largest keyboards you’re ever going to see on a device,” said Adib.

If two screens sound like twice the battery drain, Kyocera
addresses this by shipping the phone with two batteries as well as a special
charger. You can charge the phone and the second battery at the same time, or
bring the charger on the go and charge the phone from the juice of the second
battery.

“Two screens, two batteries, two experiences,” said Adib.

Both Hesse and Adib noted the “pocket-ability” of the Echo,
saying that some larger-screened devices were getting caught in a middle ground
(we’re looking at you, Dell Streak). Still, while the Echo measures 4.53 by
2.23 inches high and wide, it’s a rather chunky 0.68 inches thick. (The Apple
iPhone, as a pocketability comparison, measures 4.5 by 2.31 by 0.37 inches.)

Sprint will also be releasing the Echo’s API (application programming interface) and SDK (software development kit) so developers can
begin designing applications for the Echo’s dual screens. (The ability to watch
YouTube while lining up and buffering other videos, for example, is actually a
pre-loaded Kyocera app.)

“Today’s busy schedules often demand that we do at
least two things at once. Kyocera Echo is the first device that allows us to do
a different task on each of two screens while also providing a tablet-like,
larger screen experience that easily fits in a pocket when closed,” Hesse
added in a statement. “Sprint is proud to boast the most powerful Android
portfolio available today and Echo adds to that legacy with industry-leading
technology that will change the way our customers use smartphones.”

Continue reading here: Sprint, Kyocera Introduce Echo, the First Dual-Screen Android Smartphone – eWeek

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Change in Egypt could restore its centrality to the Arab world – Los Angeles Times

On February 5, 2011, in Latest News, Movies, Music, Television, by ayesha

Reporting from Beirut — For centuries, before its steady decline of recent decades, Egypt was the center of the Arab world; Cairo its focus of learning, culture and political power. Now, the country suddenly is changing again in ways likely to reshape the region for years to come.

Reporting from Beirut —

For centuries, before its steady decline of recent decades, Egypt was the center of the Arab world; Cairo its focus of learning, culture and political power. Now, the country suddenly is changing again in ways likely to reshape the region for years to come.

The implications encompass religion, the role of the military and the meaning of citizenship in authoritarian societies. The changes will complicate relations with Israel and pose challenges for U.S. foreign policy. They will affect rising non-Arab powers such as Turkey and Iran.

“Egypt is the heart of our world,” said Ebrahim Sharif ElSayed, an opposition activist in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain. “It’s either the sick man of the Arab world, or it could be the healthy man that could take us to new heights.”

The overthrow of President Zine el Abidine ben Ali in Tunisia last month lighted a tinderbox of political grievance and economic frustration now burning across the region. But Francophone, secular and middle-class Tunisia has long been an anomaly in the Arab world.

Egypt is different. It’s not just that the nation of more than 80 million is the most populous of the world’s 22 Arabic-speaking countries and broadly reflective of all their major trends — from the increasing outward piety of its young women to the spiraling alienation of its young men.

It is the site of Al Azhar University, the Islamic world’s most influential religious institution, and the headquarters of the Arab League. It has long been the incubator of the Arab world’s greatest talents in the arts, media, law and science. Arabs joke that “we are all half-Egyptian” in reference to the movies, music and television series on which many were raised.

“What happens in Egypt happens in Yemen,” said Abdullah Faqih, a political scientist in Sana, the Yemeni capital.

Egypt was the first Arab nation to begin building a modern state in the 19th century. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser’s overthrow of the monarchy in the middle of the 20th century inspired similar uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.

Authoritarian Arab leaders understand Egypt’s importance. While Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is trying to cling to power in the face of an outpouring of public rage, leaders in Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere are scrambling to implement reforms.

Mubarak kept the peace with Israel forged by his assassinated predecessor, Anwar Sadat, as well as his strong security partnership with the U.S., but had little of Sadat’s vision. He gave up on dreams of regional influence, apparently believing that relations with Israel and the U.S. were enough to maintain Egypt’s role as a regional player.

But that approach “turned Egypt into a feudal plantation,” according to Mohammed Masri, a political scientist in Amman, Jordan.

The Arab world fragmented after Egypt signed its peace deal with Israel. North African neighbors drifted away from Egypt. Iraq invaded Iran and Kuwait. Syria invaded Lebanon.

Clerics long trained in the relative moderation of Al Azhar began gravitating toward the Arabian Peninsula, which promoted the puritanical Salafist strain of Islam that inspired Al Qaeda.

“When Egypt led the Arab world, the dominant theme was Arab nationalism, and it was a fairly secular leadership,” said Paul Salem, a Beirut-based scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The Saudi leadership has been emphasizing Saudi Arabia’s Islamic credentials.”

Turkey, meanwhile, has become the much-touted model of how Islam and democracy can coexist. Iran projects its power and interests across the region with its armed surrogates and nuclear program. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, not Egypt, host the Arab world’s most influential television news channels.

The struggle on the streets of Cairo is not only about how and by whom Egypt will be led. It is also about how Egypt might lead people of other Arab countries hungry for direction. And although the exact outcome of the revolt is uncertain, it is clear that something fundamental has changed.

An emboldened Egypt more closely reflecting the aspirations of its people could decide to end its peace with Israel.

Even as the U.S. pressures Mubarak to leave, Israel fears the U.S. is cutting ties to Mubarak too quickly. The Israelis doubt that Egypt can quickly become a true democracy.

While some critics in Israel chide Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to back greater democracy in Egypt and other Arab countries, officials in Israel are well aware that elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories empowered two of its archenemies, Hezbollah and Hamas. Many Israelis fear Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group, which would almost certainly be a player in a reconfigured Egyptian power structure.

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Tara Reid Thinks Big Lebowski 2 Exists—And That She’s In It

On February 4, 2011, in Entertainment, Movies, by ayesha

Quit while you’re ahead, Tara Reid . Understandably excited about the upcoming American Pie reunion film —not just Eugene Levy and a descendant of Stifler this time!—Tara announced outside benefit show that she’ll also be doing The Big Lebowski 2 this year. Apparently this was news to that classic film’s directors, the Coen Bros

Quit while you’re ahead, Tara Reid. Understandably excited about the upcoming American Pie reunion film—not just Eugene Levy and a descendant of Stifler this time!—Tara announced outside benefit show that she’ll also be doing The Big Lebowski 2 this year. Apparently this was news to that classic film’s directors, the Coen Bros. “Well, we don’t [have plans] but we’ll watch it when it comes out,” Ethan told Austin 360, with Joel adding “Especially if Tara’s in it.” Did Tara dream this, or did someone trick her into believing The Big Lebowski: Dude Of The Moon was go-time?

Here’s Tara’s rep’s explanation, courtesy of EW: “She heard Jeff Bridges say that he wanted to make Big Lebowski 2 and have all the original cast members in it, so she may have misspoke, thinking that included her based on what Jeff said.” Gee, you don’t think he was talking about John Goodman, Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman, do ya, Tara? But hey, if the Coens don’t control the sequel rights, whoever does should jump on Tara’s vision. Couldn’t be any worse than S. Darko, could it?

[Photo: Getty Images]

Continue reading here: Tara Reid Thinks Big Lebowski 2 Exists—And That She’s In It

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