Hands-on review: Motorola Xoom tablet

Just think: a mere 12 months ago, many of us were still debating whether a consumer-friendly tablet like the iPad would make any sense. Today, the iPad is a certifiable hit, a new iPad is on the way, slates from the likes of HP, LG, Samsung, and RIM are in the pipeline, and come Thursday, a formidable new player in the budding tablet market—the Android-powered Motorola Xoom—will land in stores, Yahoo! News reports. Suddenly, it’s raining tablets, a welcome development for gadget lovers. The Xoom won’t be the first Android tablet to take on the iPad, but it does bear the distinction of being the first tablet running on “Honeycomb,” Google’s new, made-for-tablets version of the Android OS. And while the previous Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak 7 arrived with smaller, seven-inch displays, the Xoom’s roomy 10.1-inch screen invites direct comparison to the similar-sized iPad…

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Report: Apple to unveil iPad 2 on March 2

If the latest chatter is true, we may finally get our first glimpse at the next iPad in a little more than a week, reports Yahoo! News. Kara Swisher over at All Things Digital says she has “multiple” sources who claim that Apple will hold a media event in San Francisco on March 2.

Apple has yet to officially confirm an event next week, but according to Swisher, the company “seems poised” to take the wraps off the long-anticipated iPad 2, with the event “likely” to take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts…

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Multitasking, cut-and-paste support coming to Windows Phone 7

Two of the biggest complaints about Microsoft’s mobile OS reboot–no multitasking for third-party apps, and no cutting and pasting–will be fixed before the year is out, with the initial cut-and-paste update slated to arrive next month, reports Yahoo News. Speaking at Microsoft’s Mobile World Congress keynote in Barcelona on Monday, Steve Ballmer promised that the first of two patches for Windows Phone 7–the one that adds cut and paste functionality, as well as tweaks supporting handsets on CDMA networks, such as those run by Sprint and Verizon Wireless–will be coming in early March. Meanwhile, a second, “major” patch is due in the second half of this year–no word on exactly when–and will add a slew of new features, including multitasking for third-party apps, cloud-based storage for Office documents, Twitter integration into Windows Phone 7’s “People” hub (which, for now, only taps into Facebook), and a revamped mobile browser based on Internet Explorer 9…

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Verizon to offer $30/month unlimited data plan for iPhone

Yep, you’ll be able to get unlimited data with the upcoming Verizon iPhone, carrier execs have confirmed. Meanwhile, word has it that Verizon may nix a cheaper, capped 3G data plan, Yahoo News reports. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam finally confirmed the news to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, adding that he hoped the all-you-can-eat 3G plan could tempt more current iPhone users who were grandfathered into AT&T’s old unlimited data plan…

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More WebOS tablet rumors: cloud storage, ‘Touchstone’ charging, shipping in March?

Looks like the rumor floodgate has finally opened for HP/Palm’s long-awaited WebOS tablet–or tablets, as the case may be. The latest word is that the new slates may ship as early as March with Flash support and tons of cloud-based storage, reports Yahoo News. We’ve been hearing about the tablets, powered by Palm’s WebOS platform, for months now, and execs at HP (which gobbled up Palm last April) have announced that there will be a WebOS press event in San Francisco next month. But we’d heard precious few details about the tablets, rumored or otherwise, until Tuesday, when an Engadget tipster provided purported promo images as well as the scoop that two WebOS slates–a 9-incher code-named “Topaz” and the 7-inch “Opal”–might not ship until September…

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Rumors point to dual-core processors, improved graphics for new iPad, iPhone

Even as the tech world came to grips with the troubling news Monday that Steve Jobs will take his second leave of absence in just two years, the iOS rumor mill continues to grind, with new, dual-core versions of the iPhone and iPad still expected to arrive in the coming months, Yahoo News reports. The latest word has it that new versions of the iPhone and the iPad are in line for a souped-up, dual-core version of Apple’s A4 system-on-a-chip, with AppleInsider reporting that the new chipset will boast far more processing and graphics power than the original — perfect, it would seem, for powering a new 2048-by-1536 iPad display (as per MacRumors), not to mention 1080p video and HDMI support for the iPad and iPhone, and perhaps even for a third-generation Apple TV…

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Kindle won’t play nice with eBooks purchased from Google’s eBookstore

One of the main benefits of Google’s just-launched eBookstore is that you can read your free and for-pay eBooks on a wide range of devices, ranging from the iPad and the Nook to a laptop or any phone with a modern mobile browser. Don’t count on reading any purchased digital volumes from Google on your Kindle, however, reports Yahoo News. The long-awaited Google eBookstore finally opened its doors Monday, boasting hundreds of thousands of titles from big-name publishers like Penguin, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster, and Hachette Book Group, as well as thousands of independent and individual book publishers. Prices for bestselling books typically fall between $9.99 and $14.99, about what you’d expect to pay on Amazon’s Kindle store, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble’s online Nook storefront. Millions of free eBooks are also available. The big difference between Google and its competitors, though–well, besides the fact that Google won’t be selling its own dedicated eReader (unless, I suppose, you count Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab)–is that you can read free and purchased eBooks on just about any device with a Javascript-enabled web browser, from basic “feature” phones to laptops and desktops. Google is also releasing custom eBook apps for iOS devices, such as the iPad and the iPhone, as well as for Android handsets (naturally)…

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Five questions–and answers–about Facebook Groups

Another week, another Facebook controversy — this time, over the site’s just-relaunched “Groups” feature, which lets you create instant private or public spaces for your friends, co-workers, fellow hobbyists, you name it, says Ben Patterson, technology writer for Yahoo! News. (Also read “Facebook ‘Groups’ could boost privacy, collaboration.”) By designating smaller circles of friends within your overall list of Facebook pals (which, for some online social butterflies, can easily run into the thousands), you can post updates, photos, videos, and URLs to your individual subsets without bothering everyone on Facebook with the minutiae of, say, your breakfast menu, or how quickly you crossed the finish line in your latest half-marathon.  But it didn’t take long for a controversy to flare up: namely, the fact that your Facebook friends can add you to any group they so choose–as long as they’re already members of said group–without your permission.
So, here are five questions–and answers–for how to weather the current Facebook Groups storm…

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‘.xxx’ porn domain arrives

At long last and after heavy debate on both sides, the “.xxx” top-level domain has been formally and officially approved, reports Yahoo News. The idea is that the .xxx would replace the .com suffix for sites that register these domains–so you’d visit majorpornoperation.xxx instead of majorpornoperation . com. Existing .com domains would remain in place. Any adult reader of this column should understand what it is that .xxx is designed for: pornography. And while the Internet is positively crawling with porn–one statistic holds that a quarter of all Internet searches are for adult terms–the creation of a so-called online ghetto for pornography has been controversial…

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