Internet Explorer To Come With A Dashboard To Manage All Open Tabs?

The default windows of Google Chrome and a few other browsers show a thumbnail of all the recently viewed websites. Taking this a step further, Microsoft wants you to be able to organize your open-tabs better.

In a patent filed recently at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft writes that the purpose of a ‘Quick Pick’ interface is to help users who have several dozens of tabs open a quick way to surf through all open tabs and pick the right window.

Here is what we know about the Quick-Pick Interface

  • A Quick-pick button shall be available on the navigation menu of the browser and it could additionally come with a hot-key
  • Pressing the same will open the Quick-Pick Interface which will display the open tabs in thumbnail fashion
  • Hover your mouse over any of the thumbnails to see a bigger picture of the window

  • Reorganize your tabs by dragging the thumbnails across on the Quick-Pick interface
  • Close all unwanted tabs from the Quick-pick interface
  • Click on the tab you want to go to on the Quick-pick interface

The Quick-Pick interface appears to serve as a dashboard from where you may manage all your open windows. But I wonder how many users will actually need such an interface to manage tabs. Except for the power users (who I believe have migrated away from IE a long time back), not many would see a need for this. What do you think?

Asus EBook Reader On The Way?

How many ebook reader manufacturers make for a saturated market? Just a year or two back, this market was virtually non-existant. Today, we have so many companies talking about making an ebook reader.

So, what does Asus have in mind? According to rumors, there are two models that Asus is looking at. The first, DR-570 shall be a 6″ OLED screen device while the second, DR-950 shall be bigger at 9″ with Sipix panels.

DR-950 is said to be a much more comprehensive gadget allowing for web browsing and also coming with tools like RSS-reader, text-speech conversion, headphones and stereo speakers. This could be the device that Asus would be looking to position against the rumored Apple Table. However it is believed the devices won’t be in the market before the end of the year. That’s still some time away.

[ElectricPig via Engadget]

Windows Mobile 7 To Come In Two Versions?

Folks at WMExperts are reporting that they have heard from several sources that Windows Mobile 7 shall actually come in two versions – Business Edition and Media edition.  It is also said that the official name for WinMo 7 shall actually be “Seven” and also it is possible that the two editions are referred by more fanciful names and not just ‘Business’ and ‘Media’ plainly.

So, what else do we know? Here are some specs gathered from another rumor posted at MobileCrunch

  • Very different from WinMo 6.X and is also backwards incompatible
  • Very close to Zune HD kernel and shall work best on OLED screens
  • Seven will use Apple-like notification system
  • Will not have background processing
  • It does not come with any customization – No system resource access, threaded processing
  • Based to a major extent on Silverlight and .NET and will not run WinMo 6.X code
  • Focused majorly on Business functionalities and Gaming (including Xbox Live functionality)

The actual announcement is expected to happen on February 15.

[via WMExperts, MobileCrunch]

Verizon Brings Location Aware Classifieds

“People may frequently use a classified media source (e.g., the classified portion of a local newspaper) to list items that are for sale and/or search for items to purchase. In some instances, people that are interested in purchasing particular items, may desire to view the items of interest in-person prior to purchasing the items. During everyday travel time, many interested buyers may pass by the locations of the items of interest. These locations of the items of interest may go unnoticed due to a lack of awareness of their existence. “

To solve this problem, Verizon has been working on a technology that will profile buyers and sellers based on the factors such as item description on sale (Eg: Refrigerator) and geographical location. According to the patent filed in this regard,  a buyer traveling near the location of a seller shall be notified of the sale-item available in the vicinity along with the seller’s contact details for the buyer to carry the discussion forward.

It is not clear whether Verizon plans to launch its own classifieds system or intends to tie up with other big players in the Classifieds industry.

Is Motorola Shadow Google Nexus Two?

Google Nexus One has largely impressed the tech world, though there have been a lot of early complaints. It is now believed that Google is already working with Motorola for the release of Nexus Two.

According to a post on Engadget, Google is looking at Nexus Two as a complete business phone and Motorola Shadow shall be the handset of choice. This device will come with a beautifully designed QWERTY keyboard that will serve as a great Android 2.1 alternative.

[via Engadget]

Apple Launching Touch-Enabled PC In 2010

According to a source, Apple shall be launching a touch enabled 22 inch “all in one” PC later this year. This shall be in addition to 21.5″ and 27″ non-touch PCs. It is not exactly clear when the company plans to launch this device.

Folks at DigiTimes write that Taiwan based Sintek Phontronic shall supply the touch-screens to the device which shall be manufactured by Quanta. DitiTimes says this news was revealed by  a Chinese language newspaper Commercial Times.

While there is not much of evidence rather than the Chinese author’s sources, we are a bit skeptical about this now. Apple is expected to release their Apple Tablet later this month and it is expected to be Apple’s long term plan to move away from iMacs towards Tablets. While Apple is yet to comment on this, we believe the company would not want to launch two high profile devices within months of each other which could cannibalize sales.

What are your views on this?

[via DigiTimes]

Nokia Moves Ahead On Flexible Phone Displays

The next generation of phones wouldn’t need you to carry them in your pockets. They shall be flexible enough to be worn as a bracelet. While concept phones as these are not exactly new, Nokia’s new patent offers some interesting insights into what the company is working on.

In the patent titled “USER INTERFACE, DEVICE AND METHOD FOR A PHYSICALLY FLEXIBLE DEVICE”, the inventors reveal the development of a technology that will enable display screens to adapt to bend. An excerpt from the patent reads

“a user interface and a device incorporating such user interface having a flexible screen capable of being small and mobile while still allowing several user actions to be taken is desirable.”

An interesting invention described in the patent is about the way the phone shall carry out different tasks based on the way it is bent. An example suggested in the patent reads

“In one embodiment the pre-specified shape is also associated with a movement. As a pre-specified shape is detected and followed by the detection of a pre-specified movement an associated function is executed.

“FIG. 10a shows a device having been bent to resemble a can, possibly used to hold beer or soda. A search will thus be performed for a bar or a pub either a specific franchise or any bar or pub in the neighborhood.

FIG. 10b shows a device having been bent to resemble a bowl. A search will thus be performed for a restaurant either a specific franchise or any restaurant in the neighborhood.

FIG. 10c shows a device having been bent to resemble a roof or a tent. A search will thus be performed for a hotel, motel or guest house either a specific franchise or any hotel, motel or guesthouse in the neighborhood. “

Nokia had earlier said that such technologies will be the  norm by 2015. What do you think? Will we such devices in the mainstream by then?

Yahoo Interested In Yelp?

After Google walking away from the Yelp deal (or the other way round?), it appears like Yahoo could possibly be wooing the local reviews website. In a recent interview with Brian Womack from Business Week, Carol Bartz, the CEO at Yahoo hinted at the possibility.

Bartz was asked whether her company was looking at acquiring Yelp, to which she replied

“Local is extemely important. People do some outrageous percentage of their commercial spending five miles from their home.”

That is still not an emphatic “Yes”. But then it is not a “No” either and for the moment, we will just assume that Yahoo is interested.

[Business Week via WebProNews]

Palm Pre Plus Price $149.99?

Folks at UberGizmo are reporting rumors about the price of Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. According to their source, Palm Pre Plus will come at $149.99 after a mail-in rebate and a contract while Pixi Plus will come cheaper at $99.99.

The prices seem to be reflective of their features and is pretty likely. But note that this is still a rumor and so take it with a grain of salt. The official prices are expected to be revealed on January 25th.

True or not, we will know by then.

[via UberGizmo]

Microsoft Developing User-Generated Advertising Model

You could soon be seeing your friends recommend products for you on your social network. Microsoft has filed a patent for a new advertising method for generating User-Generated-Advertisements.

The patent elaborates on the low engagement level in ads on social networks because of the low relevance factor. To solve this, the patent calls for a new technique wherein the original ad can be supplemented with user reviews – positive and negative.

In the filing, the inventors say that subsequent visitors to the website could be shown few of those reviews based on relevance (reviewer is the new visitor’s friend, they have similar interests, etc.). Here is an example quoted in the patent

” Advertisement 400 includes objective information 401 describing a product or service that is the subject of the advertisement 400. The objective information 401 is generally provided by a promoter of the product.”

“In other information fields 403, 405, and 407, information is presented that was provided by users of the social networking web site. This information can be subjective in nature, such as the accolade provided by “USER1″ in other information field 403.”

“if both the user which provided the information and the user to whom the advertisement is being presented are both members of the same social network (e.g., the users are “friends” or a functional equivalent within the social networking site), the information provided by the user is presented as part of the advertisement. Other criteria can also be applied in determining the amount of information to present.”

The patent emphasizes the use of reviews from users of one social network elsewhere in other websites or networks.

This looks a more exhaustive ads-review system that is currently used in Facebook. On Facebook, users may choose to ‘Like‘ an ad which is possibly used in determining other ads to be shown to the same user; though in Microsoft’s case the reviews are stored to be displayed to other users of the same social network or elsewhere.