Tech News: Chrome Beta for Mac, Boxee in a D-Link Box & Verizon Droid OTA Update

I just bought a burrito just so that I could hold it to warm my hands. Yes, it’s still cold here in the Bay Area. But the Tech News is “hot” as always:

  • Hands-on Chrome beta for Mac
    “Google released the first beta build of its Chrome browser for Mac and Linux earlier today, and it’s hard not to be impressed when putting the Mac version through its paces. Chrome for Mac still lacks some of the key features that are currently available in the Windows beta, but this is a browser that most people should feel comfortable using.” (source: cnet/Webware)

    • HTD: It’s about time that Chrome came out for us Mac users. I have been using developer release version of it and Chromium for a while and have always turned to them when I want my browsing to be super fast. My Firefox is bogged down with plug-ins and seems to have a memory leak that renders it inoperable after a few hours (same is true on Windows). I gave the beta of Chrome quick spin and it is, indeed, very fast. Currently, Mac Chrome beta users cannot install some of the Chrome extensions available currently but this should change soon. As soon as this is available (which will be very soon), I will be hard pressed to stick with Firefox, provided that loading up on extensions doesn’t reduce performance.
  • Boxee, a Start-Up, to Offer a Device to Put Web Video on TV
    “Boxee, a start-up that is trying to bring the boundless selection of Web video to the living-room television, said on Monday that it would put its software into a set-top box that will go on sale next year. At an event in New York City, the company announced a partnership with D-Link, a Taiwanese manufacturer of networking equipment, which will make a device that will allow people to browse Internet videos on their TVs. The companies hope to keep the price of the device under $200.” (source: The New York Times)

    • HTD: I already am on the press list to review this new gadget! And I must say, I think, just from reading about it, that it will be a HOT gadget in 2010! I have long played with Boxee on and off on the Mac over the past year or so and was definitely impressed. While this may be following the Roku’s footsteps, competition in the space is really, really good, especially if it makes the Cable and Satellite providers nervous. We want our a la carte channel access and this type of device (subscription free) will hopefully make the “suits” in those media conglomerates sweat a bit. I have been a long-time Roku user as well and their recent software update that enables various “channels” of content is really making it a must-have device. I look forward to playing with the Boxee/D-Link device! Is the Hulu box next? Or a Plexibox?
  • Verizon updates Droid software; Users hope it fixes echo problem
    “An over-the-air software update to the Droid smartphone started yesterday, but it wasn’t clear whether the 14 enhancements address a voice echo problem that hundreds of users complained about in online forums. The much-anticipated update went to a “small percentage of handsets” yesterday and the update, identified as ESD56, will be phased in over the next week or so, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman confirmed early today via e-mail.” (source: ComputerWorld)

    • HTD: A few weeks ago, I did a review of the Verizon Droid. One thing that I mentioned that I did not test was the quality of calls (“Can You Hear Me Now”) as I’m much more of a data user. Perhaps if I had done so, I would have encountered this echo issue. Other changes included in the OTA update are for the autofocus of the camera, stability of the OS and battery life. This is another advantage of the Droid over the iPhone and something that I wish that Apple would somehow solve. The ability to get Over-the-Air (OTA) system updates is huge. You don’t have to tether your cell phone to your computer and download a large OS image that then is installed on your phone (the way the iPhone is). But, I guess that because of the 200 MB and up size of the updates that the iPhone has, they have to do it that way. It also helps to maintain the integrity of the firmware install (sort of).

HTD says: Never a dull moment in the techno-sphere!

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