Gmail Finally Supports Google Gears

The obvious best usage of Google Gears has always been with Gmail, but up until now you couldn’t use Gears with Gmail, but now you can start syncing to your hearts content.

The feature is still within the Google Labs feature set but because this functionality seems to be such a perfect fit for email I’m sure it will become a standard feature sooner or later (although with how long it takes Google to take things out of beta nothing would surprise me).

To enable it:

  • Sign in to Gmail and click ‘Settings’.
  • Click the ‘Labs’ tab and select ‘Enable’ next to ‘Offline Gmail’.
  • Click ‘Save Changes’.
  • In the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username there will be a new ‘Offline’ link. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.

Announcing offline access in Gmail Labs

Meizu M8 Prepping for March Release

The Meizu M8  is ready for a full scale launch (and by full scale I mean mainland China) sometime in March.

The Meizu M8 has been an incredibly interesting phone to watch since it was first announced shortly after the iPhone was. The phone is obviously inspired by the iPhone and it is very possible that Apple may try and take them out with any lawsuits they can pin on the manufacturer.

The video above shows the Meizu M8 unboxed and demoed a bit. Although I am not going to be switching from my iPhone (not just because of the fact that I live in the US but also because I prefer the iPhone user experience) it is a really cool phone and I hope to see some of its more unique features in an upcoming iPhone release.

TechCrunch Tablet Updatex2: Prototype B

CrunchPad Prototype B

Although I wrote about prototype B almost two weeks ago, Michael Arrington finally decided to post about the new prototype which includes much more information than my post did.

They are now calling it the CrunchPad internally but that may not be the official name when it launches. The goal was to build a touchscreen tablet for $200 but they now say that $299 is much more realistic. The device plays Flash video “flawlessly.”

Back when I wrote about Prototype B we knew that it had a 12″ touchscreen but we didn’t know that it had a 4:3 aspect ratio (yuck, 16:9 or 16:10 would be worlds better for video playback) with a resolution of 1024 x 768. The processor they use is a Via Nano processor which performs very similarly to an Intel Atom processor and it also features 1GB of RAM and a 4GB flash drive.

The device has Wifi (of course), an accelerometer (which I find to be incredibly useless since the aspect ratio while on its side would be 768 x 1024, incredibly thin to say the least), a built in webcam, and a 4 cell battery.

The price estimate they have for manufacturing this device is just over $200 (probably the $222 that I claimed in the last post). This price estimate does include a much better display, which they will hopefully use since the resolution and aspect ratio isn’t ideal.

The current design (in my opinion) is fairly ugly but the final product will probably be thinner (they say they made it twice as thick as it really needed to be just in case there were heat issues or a problem with its sturdiness. The current hardware weighs 3 pounds.

The hardware is running a full install of Ubuntu Linux with a custom Webkit browser, but most of the software development to date has gone towards drivers and the virtual keyboard (which looks incredibly primitive so far).

The device looks really good so far but what worries me is that the few things that they have done that I don’t like (such as the accelerometer, the terrible display, and the weird virtual keyboard) either won’t change or will get worse. Obviously they are going into this with the best of intentions but I hope that the guys they have working on it know what they are doing.

TechCrunch Tablet Update: Prototype B. Working on a Cell Phone App is working on a mobile streaming application and unless there was some trickery going on in the video above it looks like it may be a Qik killer, at least in terms of stability. Now all they have to do is release an iPhone application and I’m in. Especially since the iPhone doesn’t have video recording capabilities, as long as Ustream archives streamed video like Qik does it will be the first way to record video without jailbreaking (that I know of at least). working on a Qik killer, maybe : Boy Genius Report.

Guitar Rock Tour Hits the App Store

Guitar Rock Tour was recently released on the App Store and it is one heck of a game. The game is developed by Gameloft and is essentially a Guitar Hero World Tour clone, for the iPhone.

The game has two instruments to play, Guitar and Drums, 17 licensed tracks including Beat it, In the Shadow, Girlfriend, Message in a Bottle, etc. and a Rock Star career mode that takes you from playing in your garage to stadiums.

I’ve played most of career mode with the Guitar on medium and it is a really fun game. The graphics look great, the notes aren’t too difficult to time and the songs are good.

I do wish there were more songs in the game but you’ll most likely have to wait for Guitar Rock Tour 2 for the iPhone before we get any more songs. Playing the Guitar feels great but the Drums are terrible. there are only two notes that come from the top of the screen but you have 4 different buttons to press for them, from the tutorial it seems as though you are supposed to hit the cymbals when two yellow notes come down but having to reach up that far and then reach down again for an upcoming note is very awkward. I’ve experimented a little bit and it seems that hitting both of the bottom drum pieces at the same time will also be recognized as a successful note but it isn’t very clear.

The game costs $9.99 and I think it is worth every penny. In the past I’ve complained about the prices of apps in the App Store but this is one of the few that actually seems worth the price.

So, how does it compare to Tap Tap Revenge? It wins hands down, not only can you play multiple instruments on songs that you may actually hear on the radio the graphics and the fact that you can clearly tell whether you hit the note at the right time or not makes Guitar Rock Tour blow Tap Tap Revenge away. The only thing that Tap Tap Revenge has over Guitar Rock Tour is a two player mode.

Two player mode would work really well with this, especially since you can play with two different instruments. You could play guitar while a friend takes the drums, but I guess the developers didn’t want to go in that direction or just thought that implementing it would be too much work for what they would get out of it.

At the time of writing this the app was a little crashy, but not to the point where it was unplayable, if I had my iPhone on for a long period of time it would seem to crash shortly after launching but after a quick reboot of the phone it would work fine, so I won’t hold it against the game. I’m sure Gameloft is already working on fixing these bugs and will be releasing an update soon.

Guitar Rock Tour – $9.99