Crux360 Clamshell Keyboard Case for iPad by CruxCase

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2011 by theexecreview

The case we’ve been waiting for… it doesn’t officially launch until March but we’ve had a sneak peek and it’s brilliant. Quite possibly the best iPad Keyboard case we’ve seen to date.

The Crux360 has a brilliant finish and a high quality construction offering four modes of use.

1) Laptop Mode, which allows use of the keyboard.

2) Movie Mode — great for watching videos, playing games, or just surfing the Internet.

3) Tablet Mode — great for reading books or magazines.

4) Carry Mode. When not in use the Crux360™ closes up and protects your iPad’s® screen from nicks and scratches. The Crux360™ does all of this while still allowing you access to all the ports and buttons on the iPad®.

The Crux360™ is great for students and road warriors who need the portability of the tablet computer and the functionality of a laptop. The Crux 360 case isn’t a normal iPad case, because it can helps to turn your Apple iPad into a netbook with physical keyboard.

With this case, you can do some serious typing/sending emails, writing papers, or doing professional blogging work, also easy to use. You just need to slip the iPad directly into the case, and pair the bluetooth keyboard with it. You also can even disable the keyboard and use the iPad as normal, but with a kickstand.

The Crux 360 is weighing at just 1.8 pounds Transform your keyboard-less slab of an iPad into an honest-to-goodness notebook, thanks to this clever Crux360 case with built-in Bluetooth keyboard.

If you’re haunted by the echoing laughter of netbook users who mock your iPad for being an expensive toy which is only good for playing Angry Birds and fart apps, this is the perfect answer.

With movie stand and tablet orientations, as well as offering protection when shut, this is easily the coolest iPad accessory we’ve come across.

Available at for £99.99 with only £10 international shipping, we highly recommend reserving yours now!


ZooGue K2 iPad Case Review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2011 by theexecreview

As far as multipurpose iPad cases go, this one outstrips the rest. The ZooGue K2 not only offers genuine quality leather and cushioning for your iPad, it can also be used as viewing/typing stand and adjusted to any angle.

However the best feature of this iPad case, is it’s ability to be mounted on your car headrest, which transforms your iPad into a television/viewing platform for those in the backseats. It acheives this with two discreet straps which normally wrap around the case, but can be unfolded via velcro and attached to a headrest.

Available at for the introductory price of £39.99 with £10 international shipping, transform your iPad!

The Macally ViewStand for iPad

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 by theexecreview

Do you have an iMac or Apple cinema screen and crave for your iPad to fit in with them on your desk? Or just looking for your iPad to look even more stunning?

Then Macally have come up with the solution with their brilliant Viewstand for iPad. The sleek design of the Macally ViewStand perfectly matches the iconic design of the iPad. It has been ergonomically designed to improve typing and viewing comfort. The durable aluminium construction features a scratch-proof Thermo Polyurethane coating. The ViewStand can be used in both horizontal and vertical orientations, having cutouts for the ports and features of the iPad means you can easily use it whilst it is in the stand. There is also an included support stand to prevent the ViewStand from accidentally tippinig over.

Features :

# Ergonomically designed to improve typing and viewing comfort

# Durable aluminum construction with scratch-proof Thermo Polyurethane coating # Supports both vertical and horizontal viewing # Sleek design to match your iPad

# Open to all connections and controls

# Supporting stand included to prevent the ViewStand body from accidentally tipping over.

Priced at £35.49 at with great domestic and international shipping rates you can’t go wrong.

4G war of words is on

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 by theexecreview

Mobile operators were out in full force at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, promoting their improved data networks and unveiling new devices. But with their marketing efforts in overdrive, the operators may confuse rather than attract users.

AT&T, for example, started calling its current upgraded HSPA+ network 4G instead of 3G. It’s not the fastest major network in the country—that’s Verizon’s LTE, based on advertised speeds — but AT&T says it has a better transition path to its next-generation network.

“Today, we’re seeing 4G on HSPA+ in markets with enhanced backhaul, with speeds up to 6Mbps,” said Ralph de la Vega, AT&T Mobility’s president and CEO, during his company’s developers’ summit held at CES.

“We have the best transition path to 4G and we’re the only U.S. company with this plan,” de la Vega said.

He is arguing that AT&T’s plan is better than Verizon’s because once AT&T starts launching LTE, users will be able to fall back onto the HSPA+ network, which can deliver as fast as 6 Mbps download speeds. At CES, AT&T said it will advance its timeline for rolling out LTE, with launches starting in the middle of this year.

Verizon, however, is going straight from its existing 3G network to LTE, without an interim step like HSPA+. That means users who aren’t in the LTE coverage areas will drop down to Verizon’s slower 3G EV-DO Rev. A (Evolution-Data Optimized) network, which offers download speeds of around 600 kbps to 1.4 Mbps.

Still, even if Verizon doesn’t have AT&T’s “4G” HSPA+, it has a head start on the pack with the faster LTE. Verizon launched LTE in 38 markets in December and last week said it is speeding up its upgrade path so that another 140 markets will come online this year. Currently, Verizon’s LTE network covers 100 million people, and in 18 months it will reach 200 million people, Tony Melone, chief technology officer for Verizon, said at CES. He said the network should offer 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps download speeds.

Further confusing matters, T-Mobile last week also announced new plans for its own “4G” HSPA+ network, saying that it will double the speed so that it’s capable of delivering an astounding 42 Mbps. That, however, would be the download rate if just one person were connected at a time to a cell tower. Operators typically try to offer users a more realistic approximation of the speed they’ll get in a real-life situation when sharing the network with other people.

To make the situation even more complicated, the International Telecommunication Union has flip-flopped on what technologies should officially get the 4G moniker. In November, the ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector said the only technologies that qualify as 4G will be a future version of LTE, called LTE-Advanced, and the next generation of WiMax, known as WirelessMAN-Advanced.

However, in early December it seemed to relent from that stance. Buried in a press release, it said that LTE and WiMax may be called 4G since they offer improved performance over 3G.

Consumers may also be confused because the data rates they get ultimately will depend on whether they have a device that works on the fastest networks. Currently, the only way to access Verizon’s LTE network is using a USB dongle with a laptop.

Countless new devices were announced last week, few of which are yet available, to run on all the faster networks. AT&T said it plans to launch 20 new 4G devices this year, with the first appearing in March. One of the new phones is the Motorola Atrix, which runs on HSPA+. The Atrix can be paired with a docking station that looks like a laptop but has no CPU.

Verizon showed off 10 new devices that will run on its LTE network, including one of the first tablets to run the Honeycomb version of Google’s Android operating system. That tablet, the Xoom, will come from Motorola. The first version will run on Verizon’s 3G network, but buyers will be eligible for a hardware upgrade later that will make it compatible with the LTE network. Verizon isn’t yet explaining the logistics of such a hardware upgrade.
Thanks to for the report.

CES 2011 roundup: tablet strategies, chip strategies, 3D TV, smart TV, and MIAs

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 by theexecreview

CES 2011 roundup: tablet strategies, chip strategies, 3D TV, smart TV, and MIAs

Looking back on the week in Las Vegas’s giant show points to some serious struggles ahead in a number of sectors

Tablets CES 2011 Four new tablets on show at CES 2011, clockwise from top left: the Motorola Xoo, the Dell Streak 7 4G, Panasonic’s Viera, and the Samsung 7 Series sliding PC. Photograph: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, (first and third photos), Isaac Brekken, (second and fouth).

The stands have been broken down, the sun has set in Las Vegas, and the Consumer Electronics show is over – having attracted around 140,000 visitors, up around 40% on last year. It really is big: split among three halls, and spilling over into multiple hotels, with 1.5m square feet of exhibits, 2,500 exhibitors (of whom 1,200 came from outside the US), with 20,000 products launched.

So here’s the wrap-up. What are the topics? They fall pretty neatly into a few categories.

What a lot of tablets. Around 80 were launched, almost all of them running Android. Motorola wowed the show by announcing its 10-inch (1280×800) Xoom, which will run Android 3.0 (aka “Honeycomb”). You couldn’t actually see it running Honeycomb, though; all the stand had was a sort of video demonstration running on the device. Battery life? Price? Ship date? “Competitive”, “competitive” and “aiming for Q1”.

Presumably it can’t determine the battery life or shipping date because that depends on Google getting the software ready, and to announce the price would offer a hostage to fortune at the hands of all the rivals. The Xoom does look very nice, though, and Honeycomb looks like an OS that has tablets in mind; it’s not just a blown-up phone interface. I was less convinced by RIM’s PlayBook: I simply couldn’t see what it would do especially for a business that couldn’t be done cheaper and leveraging the Android developer community on Android. That’s going to be a tough sell for RIM, I think. HP’s forthcoming tablet, meanwhile, is a completely unknown quantity, but the challenge will be the same: getting the developers on board.

Asus also said it would ship a Honeycomb tablet, but didn’t even waggle that under our noses; I’d suspect that Motorola is slightly better favoured by Google on this.

The absence: tablets running Windows 7. I did find one (the iTablet from AHX Global, which is a British company) which said that Windows 7 interest was actually greater than for its Android tablet. Then again, the 80-1 interest might indicate that there were other Android tablets; with so many, you’d be hard-pressed to pick one over the others without a detailed review.

And Steve Ballmer did not do the much-expected relaunch of Windows 7 for tablets. The announcement that the next version of Windows (dubbed Windows 8 by the press and analysts, though Microsoft treated the idea of naming it at all as toxic) would run on both Intel’s x86 and ARM’s RISC architecture. That’s a huge move, but it also means that with at least 18 months before you see WindowsNext, other tablet companies will have a chance to go after that market and possible saturate it.

What’s not entirely clear, even yet, is what Microsoft is aiming at. To unify the codebase? Possibly, suggested Ron Burk, former editor of Windows Developer’s Journal: it might not be such a split for the Windows/Intel monopoly as people have been making out. His suggestion: it’s a play for the embedded market, offering developers who have written for the desktop the chance to access that space without having to go through too much pain. Except, as he pointed out to me in an email, “there’s no great value to be had from trying to claim you can take applications designed for 1600×1200 screens, keyboards, and mice, and run their binaries unchanged on a cellphone. You have to redesign your UI (at a minimum) for the mobile device anyway, so the fact that you have to set the compiler flag for “ARM” is the least of your worries. If you want the flood of apps to Windows phones that the iPhone has seen, you really want tap the large number of Windows desktop developers that have never written a Windows CE program in their lives.”

Which still leaves Microsoft outside the tablet market looking in – and Intel too, because it’s got nothing to offer to the tablet market as it is now shaping up. Windows tablets will barely grow in absolute numbers for 2010 (from the 1m-odd they sold to niches in 2009), even as the sector has exploded.
Intel: unhappy.

Netbooks: unhappier

And Intel was offended by Microsoft’s non-move at tablets: CNet reported an Intel executive saying “Hey, we tried to get [Microsoft] to do a tablet OS (operating system) for a long time. Us, and others like Dell.” That from Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group. And I’ve heard the same from a separate, unconnected source: there is real irritation within Intel, and within Dell, at the fact that Microsoft seems to have promised to go big on tablets, but then done nothing that would push them along to the wider market. That has hurt the hardware partners – and those are expensive mistakes on both sides.

For instance, there were plenty of netbooks on show at CES – but it’s hard not to feel that the steam has gone out of that market. Quite aside from Apple’s iPad (which will have had a Christmas boost from all the phone operators suddenly offering it with 3G plans – funny, that), Samsung is reporting that it has sold 1.5m of its Galaxy Tab tablets, which I find remarkable given that its performance (especially on Flash) really isn’t that good; there are better and cheaper options out there if you want a 7-inch Android 2.x tablet, such as the Viewsonic: see my review comparing them.

So what will tablets do to the netbook market? Is every tablet sold going to be sold along with a new netbook? Will people who presently don’t have a netbook wait and buy one of those first, and then get a tablet later? I suspect not – I think tablets and netbooks are in a zero-sum game, given their very similar pricing. Given the choice, you’ll buy one or the other. They’re additive to your desktop or laptop – but they’re mutually exclusive.

(Please don’t protest that you can’t see the point of a tablet. Nobody is forcing you to buy one. But clearly people are doing so.)

However, for Microsoft, it’s not a zero-sum game. Every Android tablet or iPad sold represents lost revenue, whether through a Windows licence on a netbook, or an Office licence, or simply the chance for people writing Windows software to benefit. Microsoft offers no software for the iPad, and nothing for Android tablets. For Windows developers, and also for Windows Phone developers, that’s lost money. Why would you spend time developing for Windows Phone (which runs on ARM, so could run on an ARM-based tablet) when you could develop for Android first, and make some cash there?

Windows Phone 7: the problem’s in the name

Gordon Kelly, a British freelance journalist, pointed out to me the problem with Windows Phone 7: the name. If Android were called “Google Phone OS”, you’d feel a bit odd about having it on a tablet; for the marketing team, it confuses the message. “Android” doesn’t say anything about the device. (Apple of course barely acknowledges that its devices have an OS.)

However, the branding problem is acute with trying to run Windows Phone 7 on a tablet – even if the Windows division were to allow it, which it seems not to want to do. The logic behind the latter thing is that a Windows licence generates about $40, while a Windows Phone licence generates about $5. Sensible then not to license WP7 on tablets? Except if you don’t sell any of them, your revenue is $40 x 0. Compare that to the revenues from tablets: imagine if those 1.5m Galaxy Tabs were running WP7. It’s better than the nothing Microsoft gets now.

But the branding problem is a hassle too: if it were called something portmanteau like “Windows Portable” (because Windows Mobile is tainted), that would make it usable on a tablet without giving the marketing people migraines.

There doesn’t seem to be a simple solution for Microsoft. In the meantime, even if tablets kill off netbooks and then die themselves in a year or two, and a different form factor takes over, it will still have been a victory for Apple and Android, and a rout for Microsoft. We’ll watch and compare PC sales this year with the forecasts made last year with a lot of interest.

3D! It’s 3D!

Yes, 3D TV is still happening. Sony, Samsung, LG and others are pretty sure they can persuade us to dump our HD sets and buy a new one requiring strange heavy glasses (or possibly not – Sony has a 3D TV that doesn’t need glasses waiting in the wings) some time in the next five years. And if you thought your front room was dominated by your TV now, here’s the next bit: 3D TVs are only available in 40-inch sizes and up. Aesthetically, you’ve got to have a really big room or the thing’s in your lap.

Two questions arise: can a 3D TV work as a 2D set? (Yes.) Is this something that consumers are banging on the manufacturers’ doors and demanding? (No.) Then again, people don’t know what they want until you offer it, as HDTV showed – though many people still aren’t getting the benefit of that.

Sony is betting big on this – 3D camcorders and cameras, and 3D computers, quite beside the TVs. The problem is that 3D TV still just feels like multiple flat planes sliding around in front of you.

If we accept that 3D will become popular then it won’t take long to become a commodity, meaning Sony’s investment will be hard to recoup. For Howard Stringer, Sony’s chief executive, 3D might be what makes or breaks him: there have been mumblings about whether other parts of the executivocracy in Sony want him out. So if you want him to stay, buy a 3D TV.
Smart TV (aka Google’s revenge)

Rumours that Google TV would be absent from CES turned out to be wrong: instead it’s undergone something of a rebranding as “smart TV”, which gets away from the G-word, and focusses on the internet element. Certainly it has potential, being app-based (Android and Linux again: a missed revenue opportunity for Microsoft, again); what will be key will be how much access content owners such as TV stations and film streaming companies such as Netflix allow, or (in the latter case) are allowed to allow. One of the companies showing off products was Logitech; I’m bringing back one of its Revue boxes (for smart TV) so we’ll put it through its paces and see how it goes.

Apple: missing, but present

Apple is, in case you hadn’t noticed, a consumer electronics company. However, it wasn’t at this, the biggest consumer electronics show in the world – possibly the universe. Las Vegas is too loud, and anyway it wouldn’t have anything to show. Yet it’s fascinating to note that everywhere you turned, there were accessories for iPhone and iPads; there were so many exhibitors trying to show off iPad-related stuff (such as cases and screen covers; not what you’d call essential by any stretch of the imagination) that some company has got a nice job making iPad shells – just the metal back cover and a cardboard block with a picture of the home screen in the front. In fact sometimes it felt like 19,000 of the new products being launched were add-ons for iPa/o/phone/d/s. Actually, not so much iPods: those are now reckoned to be a dead market.

The size of that hardware ecosystem should be making Microsoft pause a bit. It’s interesting too (as Griffin Technology, one of the longest-running accessory companies told us) that the best-selling Android tablet accessories are for the Samsung Galaxy Tab: proof that it’s not necessarily the best that emerges from such races.

Another little piece of anecdotal evidence came from walking around the show: a surprisingly large number of people (and this is a trade show, so these are buyers for retailers and/or distributors) were sporting iPads or Apple computers. Again, the sort of thing Microsoft might feel a bit itchy about.

Overall? The scene is set for a fascinating battle this year between Android Honeycomb-based tablets and the iPad 2 (which we can reasonably expect will offer front and rear cameras); and to find out whether smart internet-connected TVs are going to enhance our lives, or whether we’ll be fighting for the remote as one person tries to tweet and the other tries to change the channel. And 3D TV? Until they can ensure they’ll work in screens of 32 inches or less, it’s going to remain a niche.
Also MIA

Oh, and one last thing: at your request, I headed over to the Nokia stand to find out about MeeGo devices, and I tried to find Notion Ink to ask about the Adam e-reader. Struck out on both: Nokia was only talking about its Qt software, and Notion Ink wasn’t distributing; it seems to be saving money on a stand by demonstrating it only to a selected few. We weren’t among them. If they’re in money-saving mode, that might not be the greatest news. Perhaps we’ll know for sure in a year.

And for now – CES is officially closed. Thanks for all the comments and reading.

Thanks to the Guardian for the report.

Rain Design mStand Review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 by theexecreview

If you’re like me, you spend a minimum of 8 hours a day working on your Mac. My primary machine is a Macbook Pro, and for the first several months of owning it, and using it as my primary machine, I suffered through typing on the keyboard and using the trackpad for mouse navigation for all 8+ of those hours working. That leads to back problems, slumped posture, wrist pain, and all kinds of general discomfort that just flat out isn’t very good for you.

So what can you do?

Getting a notebook stand is your best bet – and I have found that there is no better stand on the market than the mStand from Rain Design.

The mStand is a solid piece of aluminum construction. It’s heavy, and has a sturdy feeling about it that ensures that your laptop isn’t going to tumble off onto the floor if someone accidentally bumps your desk. The stand raises your screen about six inches giving you the feel and positioning of a standard desktop monitor. This has an amazing effect on your posture, and really helped me to be more comfortable while working.

Another benefit of the raised design is cooling. If your editing video or multi-tasking in any serious way, the Macbook Pro can get a little warm (hot enough to fry and egg “warm” sometimes), and the mStand keeps your system cooler because the aluminum panel acts as a heat sink and the tilt design increases airflow around your computer. I have notice significantly less heating issues since using the mStand.

From a design standpoint it doesn’t get much more “Apple-like” than the mStand. Rain Design actually worked with Apple to get approval to match the styling of the stand to fit seamlessly in with other current Apple designed products, and the result is a stand so slickly produced you’d think Apple designed it themselves.

Trying to find a negative about his stand is difficult, but one issue that may bother some users is the fact that the mStand does not swivel, and you cannot adjust the height level at all. If you want a stand that does both of these things, Rain has a solution in the iLevel. I don’t find the lack of these features to be a draw-back, however, primarily because i don’t have a use for them, and having them would take away from the slickness of the stands overall design.

The bottom line with the mStand is that it is very nearly perfect. After having used it for several weeks, I’m not sure I could go back to working on my Macbook Pro for a full work day without the mStand. It has become an essential part of my daily work. For £59.99 at you’re just not going to find a better notebook stand.

Grade: 5 out of 5

Thanks to AppleGazette for the review.

5 Resolutions To Improve Your Mac.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 by theexecreview

So, you were a very good boy or girl this year and Santa brought you a brand new Mac. Maybe it was a sleek MacBook Air, perhaps a studly MacBook Pro or a bright and shiny iMac for your desktop. You say it was an old-school Mac Pro workstation? Well, bully for you! Isn’t it time to make a few resolutions about how you’re going to love and care for your new machine so you can get the most out of it and keep it running in tip-top shape long after your Apple Care subscription runs out?

Here are five suggestions to help you do just that:

1. Have a back-up plan. The number one mistake made by 99% of the people who wake up one day with an empty feeling in the pit of their stomach as they realize all their photographs, all their music, all their software and the outline for that Oscar-winning screenplay are just…gone — is having no backup. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Apple has left you no excuse for not having your data backed up, at least since the introduction of Time Capsule and its integration with Time Machine, a built-in backup solution that’s been part of OX X since 2007. A 1 terabyte Time Capsule is only $299 and unless you are one of those Pirate Bay or LimeWire scofflaws you’re probably never going to fill it up. Don’t want to pay the Apple premium for seamless integration and “Designed in California” panache? Dozens of excellent third-party backup solutions await from the likes of LaCie and Seagate — there’s even an eco-friendly Green solution from Hitachi subsidiary SimpleTech, the USB 2.0 [Re]Drive, made from bamboo and recycled aluminum. Regular backups for your computer system are like roughage in your diet: just do it and you’ll never never be sorry you did.

2. Go back often to your local Apple Store. If you were indeed good this year and Santa’s elves were on the ball, you got a subscription to Apple’s One to One service, the “available at time of purchase only” setup, training and project assistance program that may be the very best value offered by Apple Retail. One to One members get a full year of opportunities to schedule one hour uninterrupted sessions with Apple geniuses, plus a personalized One to One web page that provides access to hundreds of tutorials, scheduling and appointment tools, and allows users to explore projects created by other members. It’s a great way to learn tips and how-tos for making the most of your new computer system and to unleash the creative possibilities lurking in software programs like Garage Band, iMovie and iPhoto, among many others. workshops.png Even if you think you already know all there is to know about your new Mac and didn’t get signed up for One to One, every Apple Retail Store offers a constant and varied rotation of in-store workshops where you can learn more about the OS X operating system and other Apple software. In-store workshops are free and a great resource for maximizing your investment in Apple gear.

3. Keep your photo and music libraries organized. Pictures and music end up gobbling most of the real estate on your hard drive. Inevitably, you also end up with duplicate copies of photos, songs and other files that eventually hamper the performance of your machine or just confuse you as to what, exactly, is what and where, exactly you put it. Do yourself a favor and learn how built-in tools in both iTunes and iPhoto can help you stay organized, or invest in software such as Tune Up for iTunes (or the free TidySongs) and Tidy Up! for iPhoto early on — and use them regularly to cull duplicates and keep libraries organized. Over time you’ll gain a sense of power and accomplishment at your ability to put your finger on just the right photo or cue up just the right tune at that crucial moment. And you’ll keep more space available on your hard drive for new songs and new photo memories as the occasions arise.

4. Scan your drive for malware and viruses. Conventional wisdom says Macs are immune to the nefarious designs of hackers and virus authors who have long plagued Windows users. But as Apple and its Mac OS continue to gain market share, as more and more documents, services and processes in our digital lives move to “the Cloud,” odds are Macs will not remain inviolate forever. ClamXav is a free virus checker for Mac OS X. It uses the tried, tested and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end. MacScan is a thorough, unobtrusive $30 program that detects, isolates and removes spyware, including over 8800 blacklisted tracking cookies. Industry leader McAfee also offers paid protection for your Mac, with a free trial download. Some will say this advice is hoo-hah; some will say virus protection hinders the performance of your machine. Do your research and decide for yourself — but don’t say you weren’t warned.

5. Pay no attention to Apple product announcements. Don’t torture yourself by keeping abreast of the new wonderments and magical things coming out of Cupertino to change everything all over again three or four times a year. You just got yourself one of the finest pieces of computer hardware available on the planet and if you follow the advice in #1 – #4 above you’ll be happy for years to come, especially if you upgrade your RAM to the machine’s limit early on. Apple is going to keep making better, faster, slimmer and sexier devices and is going to keep announcing them to great fanfare in the press, keep plastering them on billboards and featuring them in TV ads to foment lust and envy and techno-desire in the hearts of gadget geeks everywhere. It’s what they do. Resist. Enjoy your new Mac. For a year, at least. Thanks for to CultOfMac for the report.